As a child, Olivier Zadi liked to hike, hunt, fish—and daydream about one day marrying Blandine Keletigui, a neighborhood girl he brought all his hunting and fishing trophies to. His family teased him about his obvious interest in her, but Olivier was serious. When he was 10 years old, he promised Blandine that he would marry her when they grew up and “stay with her for fifty years at least.”
Years later, as a university student, Olivier met Willis and Beverly Waite, a Latter-day Saint missionary couple. He was impressed by Elder Waite’s devotion to his wife and began learning about the gospel from them. Olivier was eventually baptized, and his baptism led to the baptisms of 17 members of his family. Even his father, Mamadou, who initially wanted nothing to do with the Church, gained a testimony after seeing a dramatic improvement in his health after trying to follow the Word of Wisdom. Following his baptism, Mamadou closed the bar he owned and donated the building to the Church. Olivier also shared the gospel with Blandine. She was baptized in 1994, and they were married a short time later.
Just as the Waites had stood out to him, Olivier and Blandine stood out to their neighbors. It wasn’t common to see a husband and wife walking around holding hands or spending time together. The neighbors were sure that given a year or so, they would get fed up with each other. But as time passed and children came, Olivier and Blandine enjoyed walking past the same people to show they hadn’t changed. Because of their new faith, they looked forward to going to the temple someday to be sealed together for eternity.
In 1997 Olivier went to Johannesburg, South Africa, for work and attended the temple for the first time. Afterward, he felt a strong desire to return with his wife and children. “It became kind of [an] emergency for the whole family to go,” he said. In family home evening, they discussed how they could lower their expenses to save money for travel. After a year of preparation, Olivier, Blandine, and their three daughters traveled to the temple to be sealed to each other for eternity. During the sealing, Olivier felt like God was speaking directly to him. “Now I’m realizing your dream,” Olivier heard. “I’ll do my part. You do yours.” Olivier noticed that their family life was different after this. While he used to be the one to initiate family prayer and scripture study, “[Blandine] is the one that is leading me now in the gospel,” Olivier said. “In case I forget my job, she is there to remind me of what to do.”