We had a good set of flights from Portland to Salt Lake City to Paris to Marseille. Everything went as planned and we got to the Marseille airport a little tired but glad that our two checked bags arrived with us. The next step was to get to the Marseille train station and catch a two-hour train ride to be with our friends. And we had plenty of time to do so.
Then the drama started. The Marseille airport is about 30 minutes out from the train station by train or by bus. We took a city bus from the airport to the local train station where I purchased our tickets that would take us into the center of Marseille. We got our bags up to the train platform in blistering hot heat (it was about 2 PM). Then Leslie noticed that the smaller backpack that she had taken with her as a purse was missing. It had a little money but also her bank card and driver's license. Panic city!!
We prayed and started to ask around for help. The agent in the train station said he couldn't do anything for us. We waited for the bus to come back but the first one had a different driver. He said that the driver of the bus we had been on was coming right behind him and perhaps he would have found it. We prayed some more. Marseille is known as a center for a lot of petty crime, like stealing purses and breaking into cars.
The second bus arrived not too long afterward and, wonder of wonders! , he had it in the front of the bus. Leslie looked through it and everything seemed to be intact! So we were really praising the Lord for keeping it and us safe.
Because of the extra time to get the backpack back we then missed our train to our friends but were able to get the next one out which left some 3 1/2 hours after.
We arrived at our final destination which is a little village in the back country of Provence. It is a place that is quiet and restful and we have been recharging our batteries. Our friends, Jonathan and Rachel Ward, run a center to welcome pastors and missionaries that come from or work in the French-speaking world. Besides really reasonable lodging rates they offer counselling and prayer for the folks who come. It has been a privilege to meet some really wonderful people who are ministering here in France and in French-speaking Africa. When we were missionaries here we would come here for rest, restoration and counsel.
Tomorrow we trek back to Marseille and then fly to Ethiopia via Geneva (which is in the opposite direction). The flight to Ethiopia is an overnighter and we transit than on to Burundi arriving about 1 PM on Saturday. Our biggest concern is getting through customs. We have a ton of gifts for the sewing school participants, the pastor who is running the school, and for missionary friends who asked us to bring them some stuff. If you could pray for that we'd really appreciate it!!
Well, I'm going to sign off here. Thanks so much for your and the church's interest and support for what we are doing! It is an encouragement and a blessing to us.
An aside note is that the camera we brought with us got damaged and isn't working. Then my phone camera has suddenly gone really foggy so we are a bit stuck on what to do for getting pictures, which was one of our goals on the trip. If you could pray with us that something will work out for us to get good photos we'd appreciate it!