It was a joyful day for Latter-day Saints in France as they celebrated the 20th anniversary of the creation of the Bordeaux France Stake and welcomed Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
For Elder Andersen, accompanied by his wife, Kathy Andersen, the assignment to France was a return to their mission and his first return while on official assignment as an Apostle.
“Looking at the progress over 40 years,” Elder Andersen said, “we now see many families in the second and third generations. We see a strength of commitment and testimony.”
While in France, Elder and Sister Andersen visited members, leaders, and missionaries in Bordeaux, Lyon, Paris, and Angers, and urged them all to lift the light of the gospel to all around them.
Members of the Church in France listened to Church leaders speak with conviction about the Savior Jesus Christ and the responsibilities of discipleship.
A significant moment during Elder Andersen’s assignment was a special meeting in Versailles with all of the French-speaking stake presidents and mission presidents in the France, Belgium, and Switzerland areas.
Blake Roney, president of the France Lyon Mission, recalled how personal Elder and Sister Andersen’s visits with the members seemed to be.
“There were an unusual number of very faithful Saints who loved the Andersen family when they were here 20 years ago and love [them] still today,” he said. “All who listened were lifted and brought closer to their Savior.”
President Roney said that Elder Andersen discussed the circumstances of this particular time and advised that this is the “dawning of a new day, a day when the Lord is blessing this special part of the world.”
Elder José A. Teixeira of the Seventy and Europe Area President commented following Elder Andersen’s visit: “There is a renewed sense of purpose and urgency in the work in France and the French-speaking countries of the Europe Area to continue to build up the Church because of the visit of Elder Neil L. Andersen. [He] met with priesthood leaders and spoke and testified to them in their native language. This was a blessing that will be felt for a long time.”