Journal October 13-17, 1962
October 13 (concluded)— This same Brother Desquines went with us the night before last to speak with André Chaussonnier, our investigator who specializes in slow progress. He bore his testimony for a whole hour, encouraging André to take responsibility for his actions, to free himself from sloth and from the bad company he’s been keeping, to repent, and to be baptized. It was magnificent! If, [198] after two and a half years of full-time missionary work, I have the joy of being half the missionary that Pierre Desquines is, after two years of membership in the Church, I’ll be satisfied.

I’ll soon–a week from today–have been at Rennes for a whole year! I’m really glad to have stayed so long. At the same time, it’s a pity that I get the privilege because I’ve failed to finish my assigned task; it’d be a lot easier on my ego if I could believe that I’m still here because I’ve done such a good job, rather than the contrary. Oh well: I’m not here to feed my ego, but to serve, and I’d really like to finish my assignment, even if that means I have to leave as soon as it’s done.

October 17—[199] This typewriter is discernibly better than the one I had before, as you can see. I may not be called as District Clerk. Nobody knows. The big vegetables in Paris don’t show any signs of life. But I have to do all the work, anyway, and the other machine wasn’t adequate. We continue to hope that President Hinckley will give a positive response in due time, and there’s a heap of work to do, and I do have the necessary tools. Our itinerary of the past weekend will indicate, a little, just how much we still have to do in this district.

We tried all Saturday morning to reach President Hinckley to get his permission to accompany President Desquines on his maiden voyage to visit the branches. Unfortunately, the President was at Liège for another district conference and couldn’t be reached, but the ZAPs [Zone Assistants to the President, in those days: a new title that would soon change] gave me permission to go anyway, in an unofficial capacity. So, right [200] after breakfast, we went to President Desquines’, where he was waiting for the ZAPs to arrive with Sister Kayser from Nantes, the District Relief Society President. The superfluous males then went to the hospital to visit Sister Desquines, who had just brought into the world a pretty baby girl with long black hair (Cécilia, in honor of Sister Desquines’ grandmother). Found mother and daughter in good physical and spiritual condition.

On our way, finally, at 2:30: Elder Henderson, Elder Price, President Desquines, Sister Kayser, and humble self. There wasn’t room in the Simca for my poor “petit champignon,Elder Aldridge, who had to stay with the elders in Rennes.

The first stage of the trip was to Le Mans, where we found a lamentable state of disorganization. President Tessier was so weighed down by the paperwork of three branches [201] that he found it impossible to be a spiritual leader. Besides, his work took him away most Sundays—an unacceptable situation for a branch president. For the first of his ailments, I had the cure: I was there precisely to encourage the calling of branch clerks and to train them in their new duties. The other problem called for more drastic action, but we’ll get to that story later on. After meeting with all the branch officers, while Sister Kayser worked with the Relief Society, and having taken care of some settings apart, we headed for the elders’ apartment on the rue Chanzy, where we slept on their kitchen floor [Forty-six years later, my bones still ache at the recollection of those cold, medieval stones. And I was young and spry, then!]

Arose at 6 with the elders, breakfasted, and headed for the branch meeting-hall at 17, rue de Bourg-Bélé, whence we left for Tours: President Desquines, Brother Gille (the second counselor in the district presidency), Sister Kayser, and I, in Brother Gille’s Renault. (I note in passing that the counselors in the district …More, next page…
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