Greetings to so many of you who follow our family here in Paris and care deeply about our life and work here. We are continually grateful for your prayers that God would use us to reach a city/nation with such deep needs for the true message of salvation only offered through the free grace of Jesus Christ.
As we have received some messages with questions about the current protests in Paris and throughout France, we wanted to address your concerns for our family’s safety and the state of things here.
First and, perhaps, most importantly, we are very happy to report that we are quite safe through all of this. In fact, our only experience of these protests has been through the news. An important thing to consider with incidents like this is that the greater metropolitan area of Paris is larger than the state of Connecticut, so it is quite possible for there to be floods or protests or attacks within the realm of this city and for us to be unaware outside of the news.
With that said, this is a major world hub with many people from many backgrounds, and that is exactly the kind of recipe which brings tensions and human messiness. As such, while we are prudents to avoid unsafe situations, it is possible that we will someday be affected by living in this place. If you are ever concerned for us, you can check our FCM Facebook page. If a major event is affecting us, you can rest assured that we will be asking for your prayers through posts on that page.
Even though we are personally unaffected by the current protests, we are certainly paying attention to them, because they are offering a powerful cultural window by which many underlying realities of life in France are being brought to the light. To sum this up, this is a culture where significant portions of people are experiencing struggles, anger, sadness, and a feeling of futility to do anything about it. You have probably seen the protestors wearing the gilets jaunes (yellow vests). They wear these, because in France you are required to keep these vests in your vehicles as a safety measure for if your car breaks down. You have these vests to remain highly visible to an oncoming traffic. These protests were first against rising gas prices/taxes here in France, so they were a suitable symbol for the movement. (After conversion, our last trip to the pump cost around $6.60/gallon).
Interestingly, soon after the protests started the worldwide oil prices dropped, but these protests have continued. Why? We do not have enough knowledge, wisdom, or space to address that here, but we do want to turn you to some good sources for French news from English-language sites. Check out the following three articles and take note of their sources, because they are good places to turn for information about things happening in France.
· France 24 (English portion of their site) – French riots harm businesses, retailers particularly hard hit as holiday shopping season starts
· The Guardian – Who are the gilets jaunes and what do they want?
The best response to all of this is prayer, notably for the safety of both the protestors and law enforcement. Much more importantly, pray for a nation who is so darkened to their need for God, and that maybe this kind of unrest can become a point of light. We would hope that the questions and concerns that come out of any situation like this would help the people here to open their hearts to the truth that God loves them, and they need Him very much. Pray that these events would help us start Gospel-centric conversations with people and that as you pray for peace among this society that these people would find ever-lasting peace in the hope of Jesus.
Again, thank you to all of you who are our prayer warriors, supporters, and friends who care deeply about our family. Continually look to our social media posts and newsletters for information on our lives here, but you should also always feel free to send us questions or thoughts when you have them.
Peace and grace to you all,