Monday, January 12, 2015

Light will win - Janvier 12, 2015

I am alive and well and the work continues.

Since Wednesday I've been trying to decide what I'm going to write about this week of chaos. Due to
I love Paris.

the events being resolved, I think I'll just tell you everything I can remember. I find it a bit strange but a blessing that for 2 of the biggest Islamic terrorist attacks in my life-time, I've lived within 20 minutes of the targets... Coincidence? I believe everything happens for a reason.

The Lord protects His missionaries. This I know for a fact. Too many events happened to keep us from being in the line of fire this week, which we would have been. So the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris' 11th is in our district's secteur. It's about 15 minutes from us by trajet. It happened on the road where Elder and Sister Maynard live, but after hearing the gunshots, they went back in. All of our Elders were out of Paris Wednesday and so were we.

Wednesday, the day of the first attack, jan. 7
We made it to daily planning (21h00) without knowing anything had happened but looking in retrospect, we noticed something was up all day. We went up into Chelles and there was a big commotion at the RER/bus station with buses just packed and people everywhere. super weird, but
January 7, 2015
RER when no one was there
and so we had a dance party.
Chelles is pretty sketch anyway, so we didn't think much of it. Well then that night, we went porting in Sucy and coming back we were the only ones in our car of the RER for 3 stops. NO one was on the RER. So not knowing why and thinking it was awesome, we may have had a dance party. It was not until our STLs texted us "Are you home and safe?" that we were like, "why would they ask us that?" and i thought maybe there is a security something. Then we got a text from the Zone Leaders from President Babin telling us to be vigilant and stay out of Muslm neighborhoods, but nothing of what had happened. Needless to say, we had a hard time going to sleep that night. Imaginations are sometimes worse than reality. But we made it to sleep around 2 am.

We had the hardest time scheduling District Meeting this week, and it turns out there was a purpose: we would have been right where the first shooting was at the same time it happened. Soeur Stevens and I even had the meal ready for the meeting, but called the district leader the night before we thought it was and they had changed it to Thursday. Had I not called, we would have been there. So watched over. Also, sketchy number thing about the attack: the phone number for police here is 1-7. What was the date of this attack? 1-7-15. Sketchy.

Well there was another attack on Thursday, but in southern Paris, but the terrorist fled through Val de Fontenay, 1 stop from Nogent. We came back from District Meeting strait to Val de Fontenay to go do service. We were in pants, which was SUCH a blessing to fit into the crowd. As we came up to the quai (platform) police stormed the station, 2 by 2 with backs to each other and guns ready... that was a bit intimidating, but since we hadn't heard about the 2nd shooting, we didn't think a whole lot of it. Well, service was interesting. We had lunch with 2 single old ladies in our ward, super nice. We ate pickled asparagus, boiled eggs, carrots and mustard, duck, potato puree, and boiled meringue. Sounds
view of Sacre coeur
from musee d'orsay
yummy, huh? Then we helped one of the ladies pack up to move back to Guadeloupe. Good times. Needless to say, when we found out we were at Val de Fontenay right after the terrorist fled through there, we couldn't get to sleep encore. We knew we were safe, but it just replayed in our heads over and over again. We listened to David Archuleta's Glorious and talked about boys to distract our minds from being scared. Worked like a charm. haha Not necessarily the most missionary-minded idea, but I think in cases of terrorist attacks, it's okay, right?

Friday there was a hostage/killing situation in Vincennes. In our secteur. By the chateau that I told you to look up a while ago that we go contacting all the time. We spent the whole day inside Friday, besides to go to the doctor's appointment for Soeur Steven's ankle. We updated the area book, sang a bunch of hymns, called people for rendez-vous and pretty much went crazy just being inside. But it was a good thing. There was a bomb-threat at Val de Fontenay and we were texted by President for all Paris missionaries to get home asap and stay inside. Done and done. We had cancelled our rendez-vous for that day on thursday, which we would have been there when it happened.

Saturday we stayed in for most of the day, just for weekly planning and an apartment inspection by the senior couple missionaries. We decided to go out porting, but ended up just coming back. Everyone is on high alert. We went contacting on Sunday, and people jump when you say "bonjour"...
I think I have mastered the African head wrap.
so I think it may take some time for people to calm down a bit. There are "Je suis Charlie" posters everywhere and there was a massive march on the Champs-Elysees on Sunday, which I'm sure if you're not on a mission, you've already heard about it. The president of France, Palestine, Italy, Germany, and other countries joined thousands, if not millions of people, to stand up for the right of speech. I don't know the whole story, being a missionary and not knowing the politics and such is hard for me. We were told to stay away from any manifestation/protest on Sunday, but had I not been a missionary, it would have been so cool to go. It's made me think of the French revolution and Les Mis. La Place de la Republique, the giant plaza we went caroling as a district during Noel, was packed with people (from pictures i've seen on newstands). This country has been through so much. I finally fell asleep without difficulty by the comfort of reading the scriptures right before bed. I read Doctrine and Convenants 121, when the prophet Joseph Smith is in Liberty Jail. Emily Lords (Hess) wrote me a note in college with the reference D&C 121:7-9. It gave me great comfort. I highly recommend you read it.

Though the world is falling apart and chaos is surrounding, there is light and goodness. 
It gives me great comfort to know that I carry the light that is victorious over dark. Light always beats darkness. We each carry the light that makes the world better; though are numbers are few, they are growing. I feel it a privilege to be an emissary of light; to be a soldier in the army of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have no need to fear. This week I was a bit nervous, but I realized I was not scared. The Lord had prepared me to handle this week and all the consequences of other's actions. I do not fear. I know that the Savior lives. He is real. He protects me. He strengthens me. His work continues.

Arc on Champs
"Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come." Doctrine & Covenants 68:6

I love you and pray for you. Don't worry about me or any of us in Paris. We are protected and watched over.

Be good. Do more. Look outward.

Avec tout de mon coeur,
Soeur Kate Simpson

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your mission experiences via your blog. Reading it is interesting and inspiring and strengthens my testimony.