Please join us as we wish two of the most special people in the world, HAPPY 57th ANNIVERSARY!!
Proverbs 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the Lord.
Proverbs 19:14 House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the Lord.
ONCE UPON A LONG TIME AGO
On October 11, 1959, Richard B. LaFleur and Jean V. Smith said ‘I do’ to spending the rest of their lives together for better or worse and in sickness and health. He was 20 years old, she was 18.
If you know this couple, then you know they are incredible human beings. Witty and hilarious, generous and kind, compassionate and understanding, intelligent and full of wisdom. They’ve always done what’s best for God’s people, their family, and each other. Selfless describes them and God’s love overflows them. Their lives have touched so many people over the years and through their own hardships, they have remained full of hope and continued to help all those around them. That’s who they are.
IF YOU WANT TO SEE TRUE LOVE
She supports and works alongside him. Her well-being is more important to him than his own. His favorite seat is the one at their kitchen table eating her delicious meals. Never has one occasion passed that she didn’t receive the most lovely bouquet of flowers that included a special message on a card. Their love is the real deal.
AFTER ALL THESE YEARS TOGETHER. AFTER ALL THEY’VE BEEN THROUGH.
Elder and Sister Jean celebrate another anniversary still leaning on God and each other. Along with marriage vows, they took the values of God very seriously. Faith in each other turned into strength to overcome obstacles that could have otherwise done harm. Home is the one place you need the Lord, and they sunk their marriage roots deep into Jesus from the beginning. They strive to prove worthy of God and will do nothing without His blessing. Their success is based on mutual trust and unwavering commitment. They face every uncertainty knowing God will answer prayer.
They’ve had joys unspeakable and victories uncountable. They’ve also endured private times meant to be weathered inside and not put on public display. Through it all, through 57 years, Elder and Sister Jean shared their lives authentically from the heart and chose willingly to give their lives to serving God and His people.
We live in a world that desperately needs faith. Lasting this many years together is beyond commendable, especially during a time when fortitude and respect for the union of marriage is sadly decaying. This 57th Anniversary is more than a milestone, it’s a tribute to the strong foundation of love they built for our assembly. They are my parents and my two favorite people on this planet—I owe them everything. There are no finer, more loving people anywhere. I’ll be thanking them forever.
A TESTIMONY OF FAITH
Sister Lynn Phillips is honoring Elder LaFleur and Sister Jean in a beautiful way. She recalls wonderful qualities and details that we admire using her gift to express these through positive and inspiring words. S. Lynn’s poetic tribute of our Apostle and Sister Jean takes us inside their faith providing a glimpse into years of building a church, serving God, and raising a family. She captures the significant role faith played throughout the peaks and valleys that brought them to this day. Words written from the heart create lasting impact. “By Faith” is a grateful acknowledgment of what we can all learn from Elder and Sister Jean’s example of celebrating a fifty-seven-year journey together, with the Lord on their side.
By faith, Elder LaFleur went to Haiti with a humble desire to share the love of Christ and taking with him all the food and medicine he could carry to help the impoverished people there. He took very little for himself, willing to sleep on the ground and eat only one meal a day. He had a pure heart and strong faith and, in return, God blessed him with the greatest gift – meeting Nick Gruick to receive the Truth of the Word of God.
By faith, Elder LaFleur built this church on the chief cornerstone, Jesus Christ, and planted the people in the Body of Christ by teaching the principles of the doctrine of Christ and building in them a faith so strong that there isn’t anything they can’t do if they believe that Jesus is.
By faith, Elder LaFleur and Sis. Jean founded a Christian School over 37 years ago so that children could receive an excellent education (K-12) in a learning environment that is free of bullies, drugs, and violence.
By faith, Elder LaFleur built the people into Christ by teaching them that all things are possible with God, and that situations can turn-around suddenly for those that believe and pray.
By faith, Elder LaFleur preached the gospel to all of God’s people seeing beyond the shell of the outer man to touch the pure heart of the inner man. He taught them that “We are All Winners in Christ Jesus.”
By faith, Elder LaFleur pressed through extreme pain and physical suffering to personally pray for every single person in the church – men, women and children – to bring God’s healings to some according to God’s will and to restore hope in many to overcome their natural conditions.
Through faith, Sis. Jean taught the women of the church how to become women of godly character, to love their husbands, to love their children, to believe that “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Through faith, Sis. Jean saw her dream fulfilled where God showed her a wheel with spokes going out from the center of it representing the many churches that would be built from the first one established by Elder LaFleur.
By faith, Elder LaFleur held many private Bible studies to teach the Word of God to the saints and, as needed, gathered all the men together to go house to house taking care of the families of God.
Through faith, Sis. Jean provided full time care of their home and three children, sewing their clothes and teaching piano to help make ends meet, so as not to be a burden on her husband as he began to fulfill his calling ministering to God’s people.
By faith, Elder LaFleur pulled on his faith boots and asked God to give him a little light in a dire situation. His faith endured and one night God shined a bright light in darkness to show that his prayers had been heard.
By faith, Elder and Sis. Jean set a godly example for others to follow in marriage, in daily living, and in servitude to God’s people. They taught young men and women how to understand the Word of God and how to live it in love.
By faith, Elder LaFleur and Sis. Jean taught the people not to give up, how through simplicity and practicality to believe in Christ with all their heart, soul and mind for His love is greater for us.
By faith, Elder LaFleur taught by example through many personal trials and tribulations how to stand still in adversity and allow God to work so that we may see the salvation of the Lord.
By faith, Elder LaFleur built our faith so strong so that we could boldly say, “The Lord is my helper and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”
By faith, Elder LaFleur followed the leading of the Lord to move on with the Body of Christ leaving behind those that had lost sight of the foundation and doctrine of Truth.
By faith, Elder LaFleur raised up buildings without borrowing money, putting church. in debt, or fleecing the people. His vision and faith that God would provide inspired the people to get better jobs and to keep their hands open to receive the blessings of God.
By faith, Elder LaFleur and Sis. Jean have been married 57 years today (October 11th), and we celebrate their victory by lifting our hands in thanksgiving for their wonderful example and labor of love for all of God’s people.