09246_000_023My family was lost in Paris until, through a couple of blessed coincidences, we were guided to the local meetinghouse.
We were in one of the largest cities in Europe, surrounded by signs we could not read and a language completely foreign to our ears. And unlike home in Utah, Paris did not have LDS meetinghouses every few blocks. So far, I had not even seen one. How did my parents expect us to go to church on Sunday?
Ever since I was young, my family decided that whenever we went on vacation we would not treat Sundays like a vacation. Even though we did not have our own ward to go to, we still wanted to keep the Sabbath day holy by attending church wherever we were visiting. However, we had never encountered a language barrier before, and since we did not speak French, I did not know how we were going to find an address of a meetinghouse, let alone maneuver our way around an unfamiliar city to get there. Even so, we still had the desire to partake of the sacrament.
Throughout the week in Paris, my dad, mom, brother, and I prayed as a family, and each one of us had a prayer in our hearts that Heavenly Father would help us find a way to attend church. The days passed quickly as we toured many magnificent sites. Saturday came and we woke up early to set out for another adventurous day in the city. We hopped on the Metro—the underground train—to head out for the day. Much to our pleasure and surprise we discovered LDS missionaries riding the same Metro as we were. We quickly introduced ourselves, and just before they got off one stop later, we got an address of the meetinghouse.
Sunday we dressed in our best and said another prayer to Heavenly Father, thanking Him that we were able to get an address of the church and asking Him to guide us through the huge city. As we were waiting for the Metro, a couple came up to us and said, in English, that they had noticed our nice Sunday clothes and asked if we were going to church. We replied that we were trying to find The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We discovered they, too, were LDS, and gratefully we traveled with them to the building, where we were able to attend meetings and partake of the sacrament.
I know Heavenly Father answered our prayers through the missionaries and the LDS couple that approached us. Even though we were in a city with over two million people, Heavenly Father cared that my family had the opportunity to partake of the sacred ordinance of the sacrament and receive the spiritual nourishment church provides.
As it says in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” I have a testimony that when we ask, He will answer our prayers. The answer might come through other people or in a way we aren’t expecting, but Heavenly Father will not leave us alone, because He cares about and loves each of us.
Use the Meetinghouse Locator to find out where to go to church when you’re on vacation. Go to maps.lds.org.
Each one of us had a prayer in our hearts that Heavenly Father would help us find a way to attend church.
Photography by Steve Bunderson