In 1977 Monique Padiachy left Mauritius to join her sister Marlene and her family in Strasbourg, France. A few months later, Monique and Marlene met two sister missionaries from the Church. “While entering the chapel, I felt peaceful,” Marlene recalled. “Despite coming from a different culture, the members were welcoming and kind to my sister and me.” They were deeply touched by the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ and were baptized in 1978. The two sisters were some of the first Mauritians who joined the Church in the 1970s while living in Europe or the United States.
Shortly after their baptisms, Marlene and Monique felt a strong desire to share the gospel with their family and all the people of Mauritius. “One day I hope we will have a Church [in Mauritius] in our own native tongue,” Marlene said to her sister. Monique soon wrote to Church President Spencer W. Kimball to request that missionaries be sent to Mauritius. On January 31, 1979, Elder Carlos E. Asay of the Seventy replied to Monique, assuring her that Church leaders were working toward sending representatives to her home country.
In December 1981, Marlene Padiachy and her two children moved back to Mauritius. Unaware whether the Church had established a presence in Mauritius, Marlene felt lonely and isolated as she contemplated the burden of teaching her children the gospel alone. During that time, Marlene had a dream where she saw folded bits of paper placed in front of her. When she opened one of them, she found a scripture reference from the Book of Mormon written on it. Marlene woke up and read the verse, which reminded her that Jesus Christ “will take upon him the pains … of his people” (Alma 7:11).
Months later, a car stopped in front of Marlene’s house. A senior missionary couple, Donald B. and Doris N. Norton, stepped out and introduced themselves. “We’ve been looking for you for a long time,” Elder Norton said. The Nortons, who had arrived in July, invited Marlene to their home for sacrament meetings, where she met other Mauritian members for the first time. After so long living the gospel on her own, Marlene was overjoyed to share their fellowship. “Being among Mauritian members at church was a miracle,” she said.