Corrado Cozzi/Teresa Costello/ANN staff
Eric Monnier, 59, a Seventh-day Adventist missionary whose work spurred church growth in South America in the 1970s and 80s, died January 22 in Collonges-sous-Salève, France, following a battle with cancer.
Monnier’s mission career spanned 35 years and two continents. He held several church leadership positions in South America before accepting a call to oversee church operations in Bangladesh.
In 1976, Monnier and his wife, Françoise, accepted a call to work along the Amazon River. The couple spent three years helming the Luzeiro XIV (“torch” in Portuguese), a mission boat on which Eric served as pilot and mechanic. Monnier preached sermons, built churches and conducted training. Françoise, a nurse, helped attend to medical needs. One figure stands out in the couple’s travel log -- they extracted 32,000 teeth.
A pastor, educator and administrator, Monnier followed in the footsteps of his father, Samuel, who after decades of service in the mission field was appointed to several church leadership positions.
Born in Paris, France in 1952, Monnier was raised in a missionary family. He spent grade school in Martinique and Haiti and high school in Brazil and France.
Monnier graduated from Adventist University of France (Campus Adventiste du Salève) with degrees in theology, education and business administration. Later, during a furlough from missionary service, he earned a master of divinity degree from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University.
After nineteen years of work in Brazil, Monnier was elected president of the church’s Bolivia Union. In 2007, Monnier accepted a call to serve as president of the church’s Bangladesh Union Mission. Colleagues there remember his humor, enthusiasm and generosity.
“If you want to know who Pastor Monnier was, you’ll find it explained in Matthew 5:39-42. Both he and his wife always tried to give, give, give,” said Sweetie Ritchil, treasurer for the Bangladesh Union Mission. “Much of the furniture in the office and even the computers came from their generosity. I have never seen such an attitude of ‘What can I do for others?’ rather than ‘What can I receive?’”
Southern Asia-Pacific Division President Alberto Gulfan remembers Monnier’s conviction. “He died in the strongest faith and assurance of Christ’s second coming -- a message which he so boldly and courageously shared in the countries where he served as a missionary,” Gulfan said.
Monnier is survived by is wife, Françoise; the couple’s children, Valerie and Gabriel; a grandchild, Emily; his mother, Yvonne; a brother, Yves; and a sister: Elisabeth Van Bignoot.