Us Seniors

Elder et Soeur Arn & Jody

Tuesday, May 20

Bordeaux Baptisms

As we are preparing to leave Bordeaux for our next assignment in Belgium, we have been blessed to witness three baptisms this week. What a glorious time this is. It got us to remembering the other baptisms that we have seen here in Bordeaux and noted that we have failed to document them. So, here is a short remembrance of the wonderful people who have embraced the gospel and become members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints while we have been serving in Bordeaux. Unfortunately, we do not have pictures of all of them, but we will try to recount their stories.

The first was a young man from Vietnam. He is in his early 20s and a student. His friend (also from Vietnam) had joined the church about six months before and tried to get his friend to listen to what the missionaries had to say. However, this young man was busy with finals and kept putting it off. One day, he realized that his friend seemed so much happier, and he could see that his friend's life had become considerably better. Now, he was willing to listen to the missionaries and was ready to be baptized. The font in our chapel evidently had not been used for a little while and when they started to fill it the water came out greenish orange. The Elders hoped that it was settle out, but it didn't. This young man, however, eagerly stepped into the water and was baptized by his friend. His smile of complete happiness made up for the lack of aesthetically clear water. His sins were washed away, and he was completely clean and pure.
Elder Owen, Valerie, and Elder Childress
The next week or so, Valerie Ogbadjean was to be baptized. Valerie is a single woman in her 30s from Togo. The Elders had been teaching her sister, but her sister became uninterested and asked Valerie to come over the last time they taught so she would have some support when she told them she didn't want them to come back again. Valerie was so touched by their message, that she invited them to come to teach her, and she progressed from there to baptism. She had been at the previous baptism and seen the green/orange water, but was undaunted and wanted to be baptized. This time, the Elders came over to the church early in the morning and filled the font several times and emptied it several times until finally the water poured into the font clean and clear. The baptism was beautiful and Valerie is a wonderful addition to the ward. Every time the Elders would teach her another aspect of the gospel, she was completely willing and eager to live it. She said that she knew it was true and therefore whatever was required of her she would be willing to do. What a great lady she is.

Sister Adamson, new member and baby boy, and Sister Walton

Sister Adamson, Sister Devreaux, Sister Donalbe and daughter
(baby boy was at home this day), Sister and Elder Miller
The Sister missionaries in the other ward that meets in our building had two baptisms of young black women, one with a small baby boy and the other with a small baby boy and a little girl. They are so much alike in their backgrounds and experiences and have become very good friends in the ward.

Elder and Sister Miller, Bernadette, Elder Warren, Elder Stucker
Bernadette was the next to be baptized. The missionaries first contacted her on the tram and she invited them to come teach her. She is from Sri Lanka and has a 14-year-old boy. Her husband is not with her at the moment as he is working somewhere else. Bernadette says that he has lots of money so she is able to stay at home and not work. This is good, but because of her being home most of the time, she has not learned French.

Susan was asked to give a talk in her ward about Small and Simple Things. JoAnn shared this with her regarding Bernadette's baptism.

"In my duties as a Family History missionary, I have had very little opportunity to learn French. We spend all day at the archives preparing documents to be microfilmed. We have little or no contact with anyone but ourselves. Then in the evening and on the weekends, we do indexing on the computer in our apartment - again no opportunity to speak with anyone in French or otherwise. I have been feeling very derelict in my learning of the French language. We have been out for a year and I can still barely put a sentence together. Most of the time this is not a problem and I have felt that we are doing a very good job with our Family History work. But still, when I see what the proselyting missionaries are doing and accomplishing and when I go to church each week and cannot communicate with the members, I have felt like a slothful servant - so wishing that I could contribute more with the spreading of the gospel and bringing God's special children to Him.

"A couple of weeks ago, we had a baptism in the Ward we attend. The Elders had taught this wonderful woman from Sri Lanka. She has a beautiful testimony and is very dedicated to doing what is right and obeying all of Heavenly Father's commandments. She speaks some French, but speaks more English, so I had the opportunity to help her get ready for her baptism, help her when she came out of the baptismal font, and help her with whatever else she might need. After she dressed in her white dress, she discovered that she had not brought a long slip and felt that the dress was too revealing. Because of this, she refused to come out of the bathroom and go into the chapel for the baptismal service. She said she would be baptized, but would not go into the chapel in front of all those people with this dress. Thankfully, Heavenly Father gave us the answer to this dilemma. I went into the chapel and got Dad's suit coat jacket and brought it back to her. As she is a rather petite woman, the jacket covered her sufficiently that she was able to come into the chapel for the baptismal service. I am sure that she still would have been baptized anyway, but it would have been such a shame to have her miss the baptismal service - which was given in English for her benefit. She was touched by the talks and the music and blessed for her going into the chapel.

"This was a small thing, but somehow I felt that she and I were both blessed by the experience...Heavenly Father allowed me to be of help in this one small thing that brought great joy to one of His daughters. He let me know by this small and simple thing that my offering was acceptable to Him."

Elder Miller, Elder Johnson, Nathalie, Sister Miller, Patrick, Elder Warren
Patrick and Nathalie Labourel joined the church next. Patrick is a voice student of Brother Defranchi (the opera singer). He said there was something different about Brother Defranchi, and he wanted to know what it was. He began taking the lessons from the Elders and was anxious to be baptized. He waited, however, until his wife was ready so that they could be baptized together. They are already doing family history work and preparing to go through the temple in America in a year. They are a wonderful couple, and we will really miss them when we go to Belgium. (Side Note:  They did come to America and were sealed in the Bountiful Temple.  They picked that temple because it was near to where the missionaries that baptized them lived.  Also there was a sealer at the Bountiful Temple that spoke French.  We were blessed to attend the sealing.  It was beautiful.  They drove back to Las Vegas with us and spent a few days at hour home.)

Last Saturday, Jean-Claude, a man in his 50s, was baptized. He is Jewish and from Algeria. The missionaries contacted him on the street, and he began taking the lessons. He is going to be a very strong member. He was on the baptismal program - first giving his testimony, and then giving the closing prayer. He was very confident and gave a beautiful testimony and prayer.

This Saturday, there were to be two baptisms. One was Beatrice - a 30-something year old woman from New Caledonia. She has a one-year-old daughter, Rebecca. She has been so strong and dedicated in her study of the gospel. She comes to church each week with her very active daughter - which can be daunting for seasoned members of the church, but she wants to learn all she can and do all she needs to do to serve her Heavenly Father. She would make a great member of the ward but, unfortunately, she moved to Lyon earlier than she thought and has decided to be baptized in Lyon. We were sad that we were not able to witness her baptism, but it is probably better that she be baptized in her new ward so that the ward there were begin bonding with her and it will make her transition easier.

The other woman to be baptized is Sister La Rochelle. She is a single mom of about 6 children, ranging from a toddler to older teenagers. She also was to be baptized this Saturday. However, her brother was killed in a terrible accident and she has gone to be with the family. She will be baptized when she returns. Hopefully, we will be here still to see her be baptized.

Elder Miller talking with Elder Brack and Elder Mackey
 The members of the ward all turn out for the baptisms. Everyone brings a favorite dish to share. They put up tables in the cultural hall and after the baptism just stand around, eat and visit. It is a very bonding event to help the new member feel at home with the ward members.


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