Letters help tie French servicemen to home

A letter seems like such a small thing, but in a time of war it becomes an emotional tie that strongly unites loved ones.

For many Church members in France, letters are the means of showing support to fellow Latter-day Saints serving among French military personnel in the Persian Gulf, according to Joelle Janowski of the Church's regional public communications office in Paris.She explained that in France, all young men who are able are required to serve three years in the army. After three years, they can renew their contract with the French military if they wish.

She said the 20-year-old son of a branch president in Limogex is a radio transmissions specialist with a French unit in the gulf. "The members of his branch have sent him packages and letters," said Sister Janowski. "Every time there is a branch or a district activity, the members write and tell him about it so he is always aware of what is going on back home in the Church. The district president, one of his very close friends, writes to him regularly.

"The members are really united in their prayers for him and his family. He is a good example for every one; he's been very active in the Church."

She spoke of another Church member, a helicopter pilot from the Paris France Stake.

"He left after Christmas," said Sister Janowski. "Before leaving, he received a blessing from his brother-in-law, which was a comfort to him and his wife. He is the father of two children, a daughter who is 4 and a son who is 1.

"His wife has received a lot of telephone calls from members. At Church, a Relief Society sister helps her with her children. Her visiting teachers go see her regularly; they made a big cake for her just recently."