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Why I Love Ireland

Daniel Lafargue shares his feelings about Ireland and its people and how his testimony has developed as a result of his time here.

Daniel Lafargue served a mission in Ireland at the start of the century and also lived here from 2006 to 2009 after which he returned to his native France with his wife, Céline, where they now live with their children, Peter and Louise. Here he shares his feelings about Ireland and its people and how his testimony has developed as a result of his time here.

A welcoming country

Something I have always loved about Ireland is that anybody can be Irish. Ireland is a welcoming place where you will find people from all over the world. Just walk a few minutes on O'Connell Street in Dublin and listen to the people talking. You'll hear plenty of different accents. It's magical!

                    

Feeling French and Irish

Personally I feel some kind of power, pride and a great love, when I tell people I lived in Ireland for five years. Just a tad wee bit less than five years actually. I felt at home there and I originally had no plans on going back to France until I met my wife Céline. She is French from Toulouse.

After being married for about a year we both felt inspired to move back to France. So we left the country to move to her home town in March 2009.

To be honest I have thought about Ireland every single day ever since. If I could have become and Irish citizen, had I stayed longer, I would have embraced it. It wouldn't have added anything really important to my rights and privileges as a European citizen, but it would have symbolised what I feel for my other country, my other homeland. I am still French to the core yes, but I also feel Irish.

The Spirit of God like a fire is burning

I had life changing experiences when I served in the Emerald Isle as a young missionary from October 2000 to October 2002. President Robert Crowther, my first Mission President, changed my life with his powerful teachings and testimonies.

Dundalk holds a very special place in my heart too. It was a very challenging town to live in as a missionary. But one night, one special dream changed everything. In that inspired dream I saw and heard very special things that taught me about the reality of the plan of salvation, the holy temple and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Later on, towards the end of my mission I was serving in Galway and we had a very special district meeting that completely changed my vision, the way I looked at people and how I needed to present the gospel message to them. During that meeting Sister Sarah Vause demonstrated how she taught Joseph Smith's first vision. She bore such a powerful testimony with so much love that I was completely blown away. She repeated the words “because God loves us" at the end of every sentence. I quickly bowed my head so she wouldn't see the tears flowing down my face in order to let her finish her powerful teaching to the rest of the missionaries.

But the Holy Spirit had fallen upon us all with great power. It was like a "day of Pentecost" experience to me. It deeply changed me.

So looking back today I can say I was spiritually born again during my mission in Ireland thanks to the many spiritual experiences I was privileged to have.

Rise like a phoenix

Back in France after the mission, I just wanted to come back to Ireland and I eventually did after experiencing some tough trials including a divorce. I was utterly devastated. Christophe Mortier, my stake president back then, felt inspired to suggest that I should go back to the country of my mission to visit old friends in order to help me feel better and maybe start over again.

And so I did.

I came back to live in Dublin on 6th April 2006. After struggling for several months I secured a very good job in IT (and I have been working in that discipline ever since). Ireland and its people helped me “rise again like a phoenix”. I was blessed spiritually, temporally, and emotionally.

The love of the Irish

I have come to know many great men and women in the Republic and in Northern Ireland. There are amazing members throughout the island, from the banks of the Foyle to the “Kingdom of Kerry”, from north to south, and from east to west.

I love Ireland and I love the Irish people as my country and as my people.

A temple going people

Furthermore I was able to witness that members of the Church in Ireland are very dedicated to going to the Preston Temple in England very frequently. I feel the members really need a temple in Ireland. I believe they will have it one day; hopefully soon; and it will be magnificent. A beacon of light to the Irish citizens, and a symbol of their love and welcoming hearts.

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