KNEEL FOR NICE!
Bonjour à tous!
LES PRIERES POUR NICE
Okay so we're gonna get the big stuff out of the way first. Many of you don't know anything about the geography of France except Paris (even then we as Americans are rather oblivious) but I was in Nice the night of the terrorist attack. We had an exchange with the zone leaders that day, and so we stayed the night as well. There was six missionaries there and we were all safe because we were in the apartment at the time we were supposed to be. The apartment we were in is about five blocks away from promenade des anglais. We may have heard stuff at the time that it happened but we didn't recognize it as what happened. One of the elders even said "that doesn't sound like fireworks.." It's sad to think about all the victims and their families; please pray for them. It's crazy to think about how I was on that same road that same day. I'm sure you've all heard more than I have, but France is staying strong and won't let something like that ruin the country.
President Brown is absolutely amazing; I feel bad though. The zone leaders phone was on silent, the other companionships phone was in the other room, and president didn't know we were in Nice. They started calling around midnight and didn't stop all night long. We all woke up and between the two companionships there was over 100 missed calls from president, presidents wife, and members in Nice. Apparently members came to our apartment at two in the morning and they were ringing our doorbell to make sure we were okay. Unfortunately the bedroom door was closed and we had the air conditioning running that night, so none of the six elders in the apartment heard it. We woke up, got in contact with president; he sounded very panicked but also relieved to get in contact with us. I'm grateful for President Brown and his wife and their love and concern for all of the missionaries in this mission.
We were instructed to stay in the apartment for the rest of the day until further notice. We got to call our parents for a few minutes to let them know we are okay. We tried our best to occupy our time productively. I'm grateful for the members of Nice; there were two member families that brought us food to eat. There was six of us in the apartment and not a lot left to eat, so they brought us some food. Very grateful for them! President gave us the okay to leave around 8pm the day after. So four of us decided to just go walk around to get out of the apartment. We didn't go near promenade des anglais for obvious reasons. And plus it was blocked off to the public. We were able to catch a train the next day after a while... There were some problems at the gare and so they had to evacuate it, so we missed our train and avoided that area. We finally caught a train and got back to Toulon around 3pm. It was a relief to be in Toulon; everyone in nice was upset and the spirits there were really low..
It bothers me that some people take religion as the scapegoat for attacks like this. We had a man confront us saying that it's because of religion that the attack happened (for the record: the terrorist was said to be "little practicing" in the Muslim faith, but he was severely depressed and his motives were unknown and not relatively linked to religion). Satan is trying to tear the people's faith down. But that's where our role as missionaries comes in so that we can build up their faith to stand strong in the rough trials.
The rest of the week was not bad. We saw Xavier, who gave his first talk I'm sacrament meeting yesterday. We visited and had dinner with the Sanderre Family; Frere Sanderre is a sarcastic French man that loves his country and his food. We had some good laughs about Americans and French people. It was a really good dinner and meeting!
The next day was rather interesting... We went and met up with a guy named Pierre (original french name) and we had three members there with us... Which was way too much because Pierre wants to speak, the members want to speak, and we want to teach a lesson... So it wasn't a very solid lesson, but we did answer some questions and spark his interest. Pierre told us that his neighbor is also very believing, and so our DMP (ward mission leader) was like okay can we go knock on his door? And Pierre was like yeah go for it! So next thing we know, Pierre gets up to go do something in his house (we were sitting at a table in front of it) and our DMP grabs us and we walk over to the neighbors house. He knocks the door and was like "Pierre told us we could come visit you, can we come in?" And the dude was like "yeah for sure" so now we're in this dudes house teaching him the restoration in a manner of three minutes with opening and closing prayer and a new appointment fixed.. Loveland and I were baffled at what had just happened. Hardly anyone in France let's us come in, say a few words, fix an appointment and come back another day. Especially after meeting eachother for three minutes! This new guys name is Didier and he's really receptive and humble. Our friend Pierre is somewhat receptive but he's quite a talker because "il est corse" (he is Corsican.. It's understandable if you know the difference between a Corsican and a frenchie).
We were so confused... But the miracles are happening! The work is alive and progressing! We originally had fixed a rdv for Saturday, but we were kind of trapped in nice, so our DMP and another member went and taught both Pierre and Didier!
After that, we went to nice on Thursday. I had a good exchange with Elder Sauro who is from Montreal. We had a some rdvs throughout the day and then went back home in the evening, with the story that followed from above. After some hours of running around in nice doing random tasks and trying to catch a new train after the gare was evacuated for a security reason, we finally got home Saturday. We then went and played some basketball with one of our friends and went home. Sunday had church and we went to Saint Raphael on Sunday evening. We had to do some things their, but I profited of the time and was able to go contacting with my homie elder Loosle. We met this cool group of students from Strasbourg, and one of their American friends that was with them! We only stayed until Monday morning in st Raph and then we got back home then continued our day.
Well, there's my week.
I love you all! I appreciate the support from everyone. Pray for the people of Nice. Pray for those affected. Pray for the world. ❤️
Here is the email that was sent by President Brown
5 juillet 2016
Dear France Lyon Missionaries and families of the France Lyon Missionaries. This is President Brown. All our Nice Missionaries are safe and accounted for (and well rested). They will be staying in place in their apartment until authorities have signaled a return to activity. Our Toulon Companionship is with our Nice Elders - and all are safe.
We express our love and gratitude for your faith, prayers, and constant support. We invite your continued faith and prayers for the victim's of this past evening's terrorist act, and their families. Please be assured we will keep you advised pending further developments.