Sunday, August 23, 2015
The focus of our week this week was the Blitz. What is that you may ask. It happened on Friday. We had 20 young missionaries converge on Charleville. Their goal was to be visible, discuss with people and answer any questions. But let me start at the beginning.
Missions are divided into zones. Our zone leaders had an idea to help out the missionary effort in Charleville-Mézières. On Tuesday at our District Meeting we worked on the "Blitz" after our instruction. They wanted to send all 20 missionaries in our zone to Charleville to flood the downtown with white shirts and ties and dresses. After all we do have two sister missionaries in our zone, along with my wife, Lynn. Our downtown area has never seen so many name tags.
A week and a half ago I got a call from one of our zone leaders to ask me if I could get a permit to set up tables in the square to provide explanations about what we believe in. After going to the prefecture, the police station and city hall, I got someone to take me to an office where they could help me. I found out that we didn't need a permit if we weren't stationary. But since we wanted to use tables we did need authorisation. I had to write a letter to request this which I did. I waited for an answer and waited but did not receive one. On Tuesday I started going back to the secretary to ask if there was any news. I repeated this on Wednesday and Thursday. The answer was always no. So on Friday we changed our plans and we changed the activity from a stationary one to a roving one.
At about 12:30 on Friday the missionaries arrived - all on the same bus. They looked awesome as they got off the bus and arrived at our chapel. They truly looked like the army of the Paris Mission.
When they got to the chapel we had lunch for them. We had Branch members come and help with this. We served ham, tomato, cucumber, lettuce and tomato sandwiches on baguettes. We also had chips, apples, water and Belgian waffles made by one of our Branch members. The missionaries got a little instruction and headed out.
Here's how it worked. We had three stations that we all rotated through. One station was our pre-life stage. One was our earthly life stage and one was our after life stage. We had questions, answers, visuals, cards and informations. We talked to people and shared information with them orally or in a written format.
Overall, 18 members and Friends of our Branch helped out. Some worked side by side with the missionaries, some helped with the meal and some just came out to support. We talked to a lot of people and handed out material. We talked to some less active members. We shared what we knew and we were well received. We certainly increased our visibility in Charleville-Mézières. Afterward we met back at the chapel. We shared some testimonies and said a closing prayer. The young missionaries left. I don't think Charleville will ever see that level of missionary work again.
Of course we did other things this week. We taught lessons, visited member homes and did some preparation for our upcoming Missionary Couples Conference. Truly the hand of the Lord was with us in all that we did.
When we visited one of our member's houses in Belgium we were in for a special treat. She had made some delicious banana ice cream and covered it with wild fruit that she had collected herself.
On the way back from Belgium after our Home Teaching visit we stopped at a cool spot. We climbed up to the rock where you could see 7 villages by looking in different directions. What a beautiful view and an amazing panorama. Seven villages - wow! Only in France.
The other Blitz we experienced this week was a construction job which we watched the progress of from our balcony. Last week we got a note in our box saying that they were going to redo the sidewalk on the other side of our street. The project was quite amazing. On Monday they started. There was a crew of about eight city workers dressed in orange fluorescent suits. They literally attacked the job. They didn't waste any time. They tore up the sidewalk first. As they dug up entryways to businesses and buildings they replaced them with temporary ones. As they rebuilt the sidewalk they constructed new entryways out of paving stones. They replaced some sewer grates. They widened the entry to the school. They used concrete where needed and tarred the sidewalk in a half day. The whole job took 4 and a half days from start to finish. They worked like ants. It was quite interesting to watch. Most of the work was done by hand or hand held machinery.
Today at church was great. We had 28 people in attendance. We had a Branch Council meeting. We discussed some things to help support our new members. We had a Branch meal which was super and we truly felt the spirit in our meetings, our lessons and during our talks.
We love being on our mission and we love what we do. We thank you for your support.
Au revoir de la France.
Lyndi-lou and Eddie, too.