Journal October 17, 1962

October 17 (continued)— presidency both lived in Le Mans and normally travelled together. This time, though, because Sister Kayser and I were there, Brother Defaye had to stay in Le Mans for the morning and then join us at Angers in the afternoon.

At Tours, the situation was as discouraging as in Le Mans. This branch was only organized at the last district conference, and President Roux was in over his head. Moreover, Brother Bonneau of that branch had been called to go to Tahiti to help President Young of that mission. So he had sold, a month ago, his house, his car, his cameras (he’s a photographer), and he and his family were staying with the Roux family while waiting the promised telegram which would tell him [203] to get on the plane for Tahiti. There they remained, in spite of phone calls, letters, and other attempts to get in touch with President Young. President Roux was upset, which is easy to understand, and his double burden was proving hard to bear.

President Desquines decided that the Bonneau situation deserved a phone call to Tahiti at district expense, and he took steps to make it happen. Then he spoke with President Roux for a half-hour, after which the latter’s expression was entirely changed. When we left, he was relaxed, smiling, and optimistic once again. I proposed that Elder Harold Dendurent of that branch be called as branch clerk, which he was delighted to accept. It was good to see once again my old companion Robins, who is currently supervising elder of Le Mans and of Tours.

[204] At Angers, we met with President Olive. Thanks mainly to his positive spirit, the problems of this new branch are less daunting than those in Le Mans and in Tours. The new branch clerk there is Elder Metcalfe, a splendid missionary who has already the full confidence of the branch presidency and the members. At 4 p.m., Brother De Faye (who came on the train; he rides free as a mutilé de guerre) commented that I looked hungry and gave me a sandwich, which I devoured with thanks and haste, realizing that this was the first time all day that I”d given any thought to nourishing the body! Attended Sacrament Meeting, took care of some settings-apart and interviews, left, and arrived at Le Mans again at 7 p.m.

President Desquines had a [205] great desire, when we returned to Le Mans, to return immediately to Rennes to see his wife and their new daughter, but he considered the problems of the Le Mans branch too serious to abandon so soon. So, we paid a visit to President Tessier, with the sensitive purpose of convincing him that it would be in the interest of the branch that he turn over his assignment to somebody else and stay on as a counselor. Just imagine the diplomacy that it took to take that position without hurting the feelings of the man who has to see it as a demotion. It demonstrates both President Desquines’ tact and President Tessier’s humility that the spirit of the meeting was sweet and wonderful. President Desquines instructed his counselors and me to visit, the next evening, Brother Crié, the man who had been chosen to replace Brother Tessier, currently serving as district Sunday School president. Then the President left for the train station, and I stayed with Brother Tessier to look over his records, so as to help his new branch clerk, Elder Sorenson, to get started in his assignment. Brother Tessier’s attitude was most commendable. He returned me to the rue Chanzy, where I spent the night. The next day was a zone conference at Le Mans, where I got to see a lot of old friends, including my own current companion, Elder Aldridge, whom I hadn’t seen for two days. At 4, we dined with Robins…More, next page…
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