Honey and Sweet Harmony in Quebec

By Kathleen Lubeck

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    If you were to name all the ways young people can spread the light of the gospel, you might put serving a full-time mission at the top of the list, followed by being a good family member and perhaps fulfilling a calling in the Church. But what about collecting honey from a hive? Or using a talent for singing? From Quebec, Canada, come these stories of Latter-day Saint youth, creatively using their talents in the service of the Lord.

    A Honey of a Fundraiser

    Thick, sticky, golden, gooey, sweet honey. It’s called “le miel” in French-speaking Canada. There you’ll find box-like beehives in the green fields of a countryside sprinkled with blue cornflowers, purple thistles, and delicate white blossoms.

    In that same countryside, in the little town of Sainte Brigide d’Iberville, about 50 kilometers from Montreal, you’ll see cornfields, barns, and silos. And you’ll also see teenage boys—Latter-day Saints—gathering honey from the blue and white beehives.

    Each boy is paid a bucket of honey for a day’s work of gathering and processing the honey. It’s a sticky salary, but they put it to good use. With the help of the other young people in the LeMoyne Ward, they package and sell the honey, then put the money into a fund for their upcoming trip to Washington, D.C.—twelve hours away by car. They are not going to the United States capital for sightseeing or touring. They are going to the temple to do baptismal work for the dead. Montreal is in the temple district of the Washington Temple.

    “I’m really looking forward to going to the temple,” says Samuel Maltere, 14, of the LeMoyne Ward. “This way I don’t have to ask my mother and father for money for the temple trip. Working with honey is sticky, and you get dirty doing it, but it’s worth the effort. And after learning how honey gets to our dinner table, I appreciate it a lot more.”

    How did the young people get involved with honeycombs and bees?

    It started when Bishop Joseph Wilfred Serges Limoges talked to the teenagers in his ward about a temple trip. “Everybody wanted to go,” recalls Bishop Limoges, “but nobody was financially ready.” The ward clerk, who works with beehives, knew a beekeeper, Monsieur Marcotte, who needed help with his hives. When the bishop interviewed the youth, they all agreed they would like to take on the project.

    Monsieur Marcotte taught the boys from the ward how to gather the honey and process it. “It’s fun working with the bees,” says Mark Pelchat. “The only thing I don’t like about it is getting stung.”

    When the boys take their buckets of honey home, the other young people from the ward help pour the sticky stuff into smaller containers. Then they sell it to friends or to customers outside a health food store owned by a Church member in Montreal.

    “We’ve been selling outside the store today for about six hours,” says Phillippe Cazeau, 16. “We feel that if we go to the temple, we need to work for it.”

    Going to the temple is an event that the young people really look forward to. “We want to do baptisms for those people who’ve died who haven’t been introduced to the Church,” says Sonya Roy, 15.

    They are also taking opportunities to introduce their honey customers to the Church. “We tell the people who walk by our stand that we’re raising money for a trip to our temple. We show them a picture of the temple and tell them what it means to us,” explains Frankie Belot, 17.

    With a willingness to work and some new skills, the young people of the LeMoyne Ward are experiencing the sweet rewards of sharing the gospel—with the living and the dead.

    Notre Chanson

    Known in their stake as the “Singing LeGault Sisters,” Chantal, 16, and Nathalie, 18, have been making sweet music together for years. It’s something they love to do, and it’s also a way of sharing their love for the gospel.

    People in their stake are still talking about a show Chantal and Nathalie put on for the stake three years ago. It started when Chantal was asked to join a band made up of Latter-day Saint young people. Nathalie joined the group, too. “We practiced all summer, five hours a day, and did a three-hour show for the stake,” says Chantal. “People really enjoyed it.”

    Nathalie’s love for music began when she was quite young. At age 10, she wanted to learn to lead the singing, so she asked the music director in her ward to teach her how. When Nathalie turned eleven, she was called to lead the music in Primary. Now she’s the choir president in her ward, as well as Young Women camp director and Sunday School secretary. Her sister directs the music for the Young Women, sings in the ward choir, and is president of her Young Women class. Both girls sing for fun, but Chantal would like to sing professionally.

    “I like music, but Chantal really loves it,” says Nathalie.

    Last year Chantal auditioned for a prestigious “gala” concert where the press attends and reports on the best new talent in Montreal. Chantal passed the audition and was scheduled to perform. But when she found out that it was to be held on a Sunday, she withdrew from the concert.

    “I fasted about it,” recalls Chantal. “Even though I really wanted to sing at the gala, if the Spirit says don’t go, you don’t go. So I didn’t. The important thing is to always follow what Heavenly Father wants us to do. But I know because I listened to the Spirit, other opportunities have come my way.”

    One of these opportunities was to sing for a seminary film produced by the Church last year. Both sisters were asked to help with French translations for the film. Chantal told the producer she liked to sing, and was asked to record several songs for the project. She went to the studio, put on the earphones, and surprised everybody by doing an outstanding job in record time. A technician told her she had professional talent, which was encouraging.

    “If I sing professionally, my commitment to God will always take first priority,” she says. “I look at my singing as missionary work.”

    Going to school in Montreal offers special challenges to the two young women. They are the only Latter-day Saints in a high school of 1,500 students. “The tough part is that the people can’t understand our principles,” says Chantal. “Sometimes when our friends find out our religion, their parents tell them not to see us any more. But we’ve found that our example is the best missionary work we can do.”

    Nathalie agrees. “When we take the subway to Church, people notice us walking in dresses and know that we’re not like other young people. There’s something different about us.

    “Last year I asked my math teacher to write something in my yearbook. My teacher wrote: ‘A year ago I saw you in the corridor and didn’t know you, but wanted you in my class this year because I saw how nice you were with people.’ To me, that’s missionary work.” Chantal has had similar experiences.

    The LeGault family joined the Church after they were tracted out by missionaries ten years ago. Although Nathalie was only eight years old when the missionaries came, she searched to find out for herself if the Church was true. “When I was nine years old, I knew it was true,” she says. “My relatives said the girls were joining the Church because their parents had joined. But I said no, I know it’s true. It was my decision to join. I always tell young people you have to have your own testimony, not just the testimony of your friends or family.”

    The sisters remember what life was like without the gospel. “Sometimes when people are born in the Church, they don’t realize the value of what they have,” says Nathalie. “I remember what it was like and know the Spirit of the Lord is in our home now. Everything I do I pray about. I feel the Spirit of the Lord guiding me. That’s the key, and it’s wonderful.”

    The whole LeGault family makes it a practice to try to live close to the Spirit. Shortly after Brother LeGault was praying for help in finding someone to share the gospel with, he was prompted to turn off the main highway to stop at a gasoline station, even though he didn’t need gasoline. A young man riding a motorcycle had stopped there because he was tired of traveling. Brother LeGault offered to put the motorcycle in his van and take the young man to Montreal.

    The young man was impressed by the kindness he received and wanted to know more about the LeGault family and what made them so loving. He took the missionary lessons. The LeGault family prayed that the young man would gain a testimony. A few weeks later, he was baptized into the Church.

    “When something like that happens, we make it a family activity,” says Chantal. “We all prayed for the young man to listen to the truth. We work together to share the gospel.”

    “We try to say to our Heavenly Father, ‘I’ll do what you want; make me what you want,’” says Nathalie. “When we let him do that, he does wonderful things.”

    Photography by Sharon Beard and Ron Hamilton