Elardeo Saldeba – Still Going Strong

Elardeo Saldeba – Still Going Strong

Ninety-five-year-old Elardeo Saldeba of the Nottingham 1st Ward has been a faithful member of the Church since 1985. His cheerful smile and ready handshake, at the chapel door every Sunday, have greeted hundreds of brothers and sisters for many years. Brother Saldeba arrives an hour early each week to wait at the door to welcome members and visitors alike. Age, ill health, and poor weather: nothing has deterred this faithful brother from this self-appointed responsibility.

Born in Jamaica in 1920, Brother Saldeba immigrated to England in 1955. Having been an Evangelist in his native country, he was disappointed to find that Nottingham at that time had no Evangelical Church. When first introduced to the missionaries, he was not interested in their message, but his wife, Muriel accepted the Gospel. It was some years later, when a close bereavement caused him to once again consider the beliefs of his youth, that he became willing to investigate his wife’s religion. He was baptised and never looked back. Muriel passed away shortly afterwards. It was a time of great sorrow, but his friendship with another member of the ward, Dorothy Hibbert, began to grow and they were married in 1990. Brother and Sister Saldeba were called to serve as full-time missionaries transcribing the 1881 census, a time of spiritual strengthening and great joy.

Over the years, Brother Saldeba has served in a number of callings: he has been a ward missionary twice and, together with Dorothy, has taught many new converts the Temple Preparations lesson. He has also spent time as a counsellor on the Grantham Branch Presidency. Asked why he has continued to stand so faithfully at the chapel door each week, Brother Saldeba says: “I love to meet my Brothers and Sisters each week, and I thank God I am able to do it.” He remembers how he felt when the missionaries first told him that he could find the truth through prayer and scripture study. “My baptism was the happiest day of my life,” he says. Prayer and scripture study are his watchwords still. Coupled with striving to love others, he says they are the secret to years of a faithful, happy life in the Church.

Ward member, David Bourne comments, “Towards the end of 2015 there was more tragedy for Brother Saldeba when his beloved wife, Dorothy, died. She had been suffering with cancer for many years, but had lived much longer than medical expectations. As a member of our High Priests group he is honoured and respected. He rarely misses a class.”

Brother Saldeba continues to greet the ward members each Sunday, quietly faithful and true to the Gospel. He is a stalwart example of devotion and friendship.