“I was just invited to attend the seminar for Regional Representatives and a seminar for my job,” smiled Elder Charles A. Didier, new member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. “But when I found myself being escorted to President Kimball’s home Tuesday evening, I knew something else was coming.
“I accepted the calling at once,” he said, adding with his quick smile, “then President Kimball opened his Doctrine and Covenants and explained my calling to me.”
Elder Didier, former president of the France-Switzerland Mission and current Regional Representative for the France Paris and Belgian Brussels missions, is Belgian, the first resident European General Authority called in this dispensation.
The principle of eternal marriage was a major force in his conversion. “You see,” he explains, “my parents divorced after 25 years of marriage. I was the oldest child, very close to my mother, and the experience still leaves a painful taste. I promised myself as a boy that it would never happen to my marriage.”
His mother, two brothers, and sister are also members, and one of his sister’s missionary companions was Lucie Lodomez, formerly one of his fellow students at the University of Liege. They met again at a youth conference after her mission, were married a year later, and now have two sons, Marc, age 12, and Patrick, 13.
Sister Didier had the opportunity to fly to Salt Lake to see her husband set apart. She says, “I think the Lord educated us carefully for this calling. I am an only child and very attached to my parents and country, but when I went on my own mission I became much more independent; and when my husband was called as mission president, I had the feeling in my heart that I should not really plan to go home again.”
In fact, they went straight from the mission field to Frankfurt where the quadrilingual Elder Didier is European manager of Translation and Distribution Services for the Church. “My husband taught me early that we must always be ready—that a call could come at any moment and we must say yes then.”
“I have a testimony that the Church can change human nature,” says Elder Didier. “I was shy. Not just shy—but terribly shy. I refused to give a prayer the first time I was asked. I didn’t dare.
“Knowing that we have a living prophet gives me security in a very tragic world, and knowing that he has so much confidence in me makes me feel very humble—and very eager to learn. I think the question you always ask at times like this is ‘Why? Why me?’ I’ll probably find out someday, but in the meantime, it’s very good to know that President Kimball and the other General Authorities think I can do it.”