This blog covers the years 2014-2016 when we (the Robisons) were at the Ghana MTC. To see the blog covering the period 2016-2018 click on this link:

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Missionary Moments from Africa in Church News


Published: Saturday, March 7 2015 12:10 a.m. MST
Updated: Friday, March 6 2015 11:45 a.m. MST

Sister Winnie Mandela, from Kenya, entered the Ghana Missionary Training Center in January. Her name, she explains, came from her father, who “simply liked the name Winnie Mandela.”

Growing up, Sister Mandela’s mother was an Anglican and her father was a Catholic. When Sister Mandela was 17, her father suffered a blood clot and within a month died leaving her with many questions both about her life and about her father’s death.

One of her friends invited her to the LDS Church and she agreed. Two missionaries asked her to investigate the Church and she agreed.
She said the discussions included the plan of salvation and this helped the empty feeling (from her father’s death) leave and she wanted to learn more and more. She visited the Sosiani Branch in Kenya’s Eldoret District in May 2013 and Elder Simelane, from South Africa, and Elder Kigongo, from Uganda, taught her about the gospel of Jesus Christ and gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon, challenging her to pray about it before reading it.
Following her prayer she spent all night reading the Book of Mormon and said an answer came into her mind that “this book is true.” Along with the answer to her prayer came tears of joy.

Missionaries continued to teach her and, as she came to understand Heavenly Father’s plan, the hope that she could one day see her father again made her happy. When her father died in 2005, she had many questions that no one could answer to her satisfaction. The young missionaries, however, were able to answer many of them, and she realized that Heavenly Father wants her to return back home to Him.

In June 2013, Sister Mandela was ready to be baptized but the two missionaries were on an assignment away from her home. She was baptized in August. Nearly a year and a half later, Sister Mandella entered the Ghana MTC, ready now to share the gospel and help others find the answers she found as missionaries taught her.

Prior to serving her mission, Sister Mandela served as a seminary teacher and in a Relief Society presidency. In addition to her native language of Swahli she also speaks Spanish and enjoys swimming and basketball. Before her mission call she worked in sales for a software company and prior to entering the Ghana MTC, she had never been outside of Kenya. She is serving in the Ghana Accra Mission.
“I am so thankful and grateful for the restored gospel and I know the Book of Mormon is true,” said Sister Mandela of her journey into the Church and as her missionary service began.

— President Reid Robison, Ghana MTC

The last time one of my entries was published in the Church News before Sister Madela's story was:

Published: Saturday, July 5 2014 12:10 a.m. MDT

The journey of Elder Jervase Makur Dhoul Ajok from South Sudan to serving as a full-time missionary has been filled with both challenges and blessings. He was born in 1989 in the village of Ananatak, South Sudan, when his country was in the midst of a severe drought. One night in 1998 his village was attacked because “our villagers were accused of hiding rebels. Hence, they raided the house where my family was sleeping. They started by shooting my uncle, his wife and his son,” said Elder Ajok. He was forced to flee his country because of civil unrest.
Young Jervase ran “into the bush, crying, leaving behind my father, mother, five brothers and two sisters where everyone was lying among those who had been killed.”

He found himself in the village of Chukudum and, in late 1998, was forced to become a child soldier in what was called the “Lost Boys of Sudan.” After three months, he escaped, “because [he] did not want to be a soldier.” While he was hiking to another village with other refugees, his camp was bombed and his leg injured by shrapnel. Elder Ajok said, “At that point, my life became so horrible because there was no food, water or shelter. We were attacked by wildlife, and everything was in total chaos and got worse for the next week.”
In March 2000, he was taken to a refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya. Elder Ajok said that during his stay in the camp, many would try to steal others’ possessions and he fled to Nairobi where a kind family gave him shelter.

“I thanked Heavenly Father ... because a ‘good Samaritan’ took me into his house before helping me look for other Sudanese people. I was very grateful for his kindness.”

In Nairobi, said Elder Ajok, “I did not have a person that could care for me if I became sick. At this point, I became friends with a fellow Sudanese countryman and went to the Catholic church one Sunday.” He later met two LDS missionaries, who introduced him to the bishop, and he was baptized a member of the Church in late 2008.

Elder Ajok remained in Nairobi and enrolled in school with the bishop’s help. “[The bishop] paid my school fees until I completed my [high school] in 2011.”
In August 2012, Elder Ajok walked 1,000 miles back to Southern Sudan and met with the branch president there who helped him find food and shelter and obtain a passport in order to serve a full-time mission. Elder Ajok worked as a security guard to earn mission funds and was able to locate his mother, two brothers and two sisters who survived the village attack.

In June, Elder Ajok entered the Ghana Missionary Training Center and is now serving in the Ghana Cape Coast Mission.

— as related by Lynette Pierce Shulz to Reid A. Robison, President of the Ghana MTC

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