Sunday, March 11, 2012

Antoinette

There are many emotional experiences that I have had that I have not yet put to pen, but it is time for this one. Our Stake President's talk in Ward Conference brought back these memories.

My third city on my mission was the French Mediterranean port city of Toulon. This area had four elders and two sister missionaries. My companion was Elder Larry Wride, and he had only been there a couple of weeks.

Two weeks before my arrival, Elder Wride and his companion had met a young lady named Antoinette Palmièri. Antoinette was a nurse working a night shift that gave her a lot of spare time. In that time she had completely read the Book of Mormon.

We quickly settled into a comfortable routine with her. One afternoon a week we would go over to her house, she would serve us cold limonade and we would talk.

Prior to finding the missionaries, Antoinette had been studying with the Témoins de Jéhovah (Jehovah's Witnesses). At some point they had pushed to meet her parents, and that turned into an awkward, embarrassing situation. That was why we met with her when we did, because we wouldn't run into her parents.

District Conference came and President Nelson told us "Brethren and Sisters, we don't have time to spend with investigators who are not ready to accept the Gospel. When you go back to your area, challenge any who are not progressing and drop the ones who will not take the challenge."

It was with much fear that I approached our next visit. We were comfortable and I didn't want to upset our relationship.

I asked her "Do you believe the Book of Mormon is the word of God?"

"Yes"

"Do you believe that Joseph Smith was was a prophet?"

"Yes"

"Then what do you have to do?"

"I guess I have to be baptized"

She talked to her parents, and they not only said "Heck No", they said "You join and you leave".

So she left home and joined the church.

A year or so later she had reconciled with her parents and the family had relocated from Toulon to Grenoble. One Friday evening she had her bags packed and said goodbye to her family, explaining that she was going to spend the weekend with a friend.

She got on a train to Geneva where President Nelson set her apart as a full-time missionary, serving in the Franco-Belgian Mission. A year a a half after my return I was fortunate to go back to Europe and spend some time with her and her companion.

After her mission came a temple marriage and five children (very rare in France). Life hasn't been perfect for her, but it may have gone down a whole different path if Elder Wride and I had not done as we were asked.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

It is inspiring to hear stories of obedience and courage and to see the blessings that come.