Stephan Eccles Graff of Overijse, Belgium

“Stephan Eccles Graff of Overijse, Belgium,” Friend, Feb. 1996, 40

Making Friends:

Stephan Eccles Graff of Overijse, Belgium

Meet Stephan Eccles Graff (8). He has bright, shiny hair and a happy grin. He lives on the Language Frontier in Belgium. It is called that because people in the northern part of Belgium speak Flemish, and people in the southern part speak French.

Stephan lives just outside of Brussel (the Flemish spelling), or Bruxelles (the French spelling), the capital of Belgium. Overijse, where he lives, is Flemish. La Hulpe, where he goes to school, is across the Language Frontier and is French. His school—Ecole Communale de La Hulpe—is, of course, a French-speaking school. He has been attending it for three years and is in second class. His papa and his brothers Michael and Matthew also speak French.

He has four sisters—Misa, Patricia, Jennifer, and Victoria. Two of them go to Brussels American School, and two go to Brigham Young University.

A most important person to Stephan is his baby brother. Although his name is Christian, he is called “Guapo,” which means “handsome boy” in Spanish. Stephan’s bisabuela (great-grandmother) and some other family members live in Madrid, Spain. Once or twice a year, he and his family visit them. It is a two-and-a-half-day drive from Brussels to Madrid.

There are many beautiful places in Belgium. Some of them Stephan likes to visit again and again, such as the beautiful Grand’ Place (the main square) in Brussels. Another favorite place is the Chateau de La Hulpe, near his school. The Chateau has wide lawns and walking paths, and he loves to ride his bike there.

A third favorite place is Villers-La-Ville, a ruined abbey (a kind of church where people lived) near Nivelles, Belgium. He likes to run and play there and jump off the walls.

A fourth favorite place is the city of Leuven (Louvain), Belgium. The Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) is so fancy that it rivals the famous Hôtel de Ville in Brussels. Stephan says that it has “gingerbread decorations.”

Sometimes he visits NATO headquarters. NATO is an organization with members from Europe and North America; these countries have pledged to help each other, especially to defend each other from attacks by other countries. Stephan’s father is in the group that represents the United States.

Stephan attends Primary in the Brussels International Ward, which is on the Flemish side of Brussels. He has two really good friends where he goes to church. One is Veeren, who is from Mauritius. The ward has members from about fifteen different countries, but they all speak English in addition to other languages, and the meetings are held in English. Brother DeCorte is Stephan’s other special friend, but he goes to the Flemish Branch, which meets in the same building. Stephan has a testimony that the gospel of Jesus Christ is for all of Heavenly Father’s children, no matter where they live or what language they speak.

Photos by Patricia Graff Rossiter

1. Stephan

2. Matthew and Stephan with a cousin, Miguel Cano, in Leuven, Belgium

3. With Matthew in front of the NATO star

4. Papa and the boys

5. With “Guapo”

6. Playing at the Villers-La-Ville

7. With Veeren and Brother DeCorte in front of the chapel

8. With Matthew, Victoria, Jennifer, Christian, and Michael in front of the Puerto de Alpaca in Madrid

9. The boys at their school