Last Thursday we welcomed 94 new missionaries to join those learning a language. Twenty-four of them have lost a parent and of those 10 have lost both parents.
Here is the story of some of them:
Meet Elder Lucky Egede
Egede is from Nigeria and was called to serve in the Nigeria Lagos
Mission.He was born in Benin City on
March 23, 1992, the fourth of seven children.His people come from the village of Agbor where Ike is spoken.English is a second language for Elder
When he was
12 years old, his father was excited to build his family a home on a plot of
land that he acquired.He took his wife
and 7 children to walk around the property and examine the foundation.While they were inspecting the work, a
neighbor angrily approached them and said that they were building on her
land.So Lucky’s father measured
property again and verified that it was indeed his.He was right.However the lady was a very terrible person and one that practiced
witchcraft. She told the family to leave or she would do something terrible to
them beginning with the father.She placed poison on the property with what
she felt was a curse so that the next time Lucky’s father came to the lot, he
would be poisoned, get sick and die. And this is what happened.
after that tragic event, Lucky’s mother was poisoned the same way and
died.The children quickly concluded
they wanted nothing to do with the property and never visited it again.After the death of his parents, Lucky and his
brother went to live with an aunt, the sister of his mother whose children were
all married by that time.Two more of
the children went to live with an uncle.The rest of the children were old enough to be on their own.When Lucky was 15 years old his 2ndold brother introduced him to the Church
but he was not interested.
At the of 21
he became interested in the Church, listened to the missionaries and decided to
be baptized in August 2011.A short time
later, he was the Sunday School President, then the Young Men’s President, and
most recently the Young Single Adult Rep.When a close friend returned from a mission, he gained the desire to
serve a mission.
that when he remembers the fate of his parents, he thanks Heavenly Father that
he and his siblings were not killed.Prior to becoming a member of the Church whenever he thought of his
parents or saw parents with kids of their own, he was angry because his parents
were killed.Becoming a member has
enabled him to let go and to forget those feelings.
Egede says that he knows that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, our Savior
and Redeemer and that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored.He testifies that missionary work is divine
and that we have a living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson.He testifies that the Book of Mormon is another
testament of Jesus Christ and says he is happy to be a missionary in the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.He
prays that Heavenly Father will give him the power, ability and strength to do
that which the Lord has commanded.
Love of the
Savior has come into his heart and replaced the anger that he felt from the
loss of his parents.
Meet Elder Emmanuel Dailah
Emmanuel Dailah from Liberia was called to serve in the Nigeria Lagos
Mission.His mother Helena Say Keah was
killed during the war of 1990 just a couple of weeks after he was born on
December 6, 1990.Rebels killed many
people in the village of Sannquille that terrible day. His father escaped out the building and was
never heard of.Some have told Emmanuel
that he too died. All Emmanuel knows is that his dad’s first name was Cedi.
week old Emmanuel was lying next to the body of his mother.A kind soldier named Cooper Dailah in surveying the damage came and gathered him
up.Cooper raised him as his own.Cooper Dailah was very kind to Emmanuel but
not so his wife and his children.They
would tell him that he was not really part of their family, that he was from the ward.Emmanuel remembers he would often cry as a
young child about not having his real parents.
his brother, Hilton Mentor, who is six years older than Emmanuel spent his
formative years staying with many different people.In 2010, as an adult he made a concentrated
search to discover the whereabouts of his baby brother, who had been left
beside his dead mother.After
considerable search he found Emmanuel and took him home to live with him and
pay for his schooling.Emmanuel was then
20 years old.Hilton is a Baptist.He told Emmanuel about his Church but
Emmanuel was not interested.In 2014,
Emmanuel was contacted by Elder Hill from the US and then taught by sister
missionaries and baptized in late November.
under sponsorship of a nice lady from the US named Mary Pay.She has been kind and supportive to Emmanuel
as well.However, she is a member of the
Penticostal Church.She does not like
the Baptist Church nor does she like the Mormon faith.However, she is fine with both brothers
following their own desires about religion.
is very interested in the LDS Church and will likely soon be baptized due to
the teaching and example of Emmanuel.Since becoming a member, Emmanuel said the members of the Church have
made him feel welcome and like he is a member of a family.He has found happiness in the restored gospel
of Jesus Christ.He knows the gospel is
true and that with the gospel he will be able to meet his parents again by
performing sacred ordinances.He know
that they can inherit the kingdom of Heavenly Father and that God lives and
Jesus is the head of the Church and that we have a living prophet.
Emmuel found the church at the age of 22 and was baptized on in late
November.His bother Hilton Mentor came
just a couple of years ago to find out whatever happened to his baby brother.Had his parents lived, his family name would
have been Mentor not Dailah.
Sister Beatrice Nekesa
In her life,
Beatrice did not know about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints.She did not even know where the
Church was located.In 2012 her brother
joined the Church.Seeing those Mormon
books at home did not interest her because she had a misconception about what
it was all about. Sister
Beatrice Nekesa from Kenya was called to serve in the Ghana Cape Coast
Mission.She was born August 19, 1991 in
Busia, Kenya into a family of five children, herself being the eldest. Three of
the children died when they were still young, so it was Beatrice and her young
brother who were left.When she was three years old her father was
killed.He was just walking down the street
and shots were fired at him as a random act of violence.When she was six years old, her mother became
ill and passed away.Beatrice and her
little brother were raised from that
point on by her grandmother. No one from
the extended family cared about them.Since the grandmother was elderly, the two children had to fend for
themselves in getting to school and getting the things they needed.To the grandmother’s credit, she tried so
much to show her love and Beatrice is forever grateful for that love and thanks
Heavenly Father for her.She is a strong
lady – one in a million.
In July of
2014 her brother became ill and died.It
was at this time Beatrice came to know about the Church.It was not easy because people all around her
were saying that the Church was for devils and that the members killed her
brother.It was hard for her to know if
she should believe the Church people or the village people.
time Beatrice went to Church was not to learn about the gospel but rather to
know the truth about how her brother died.She was frightened and thought that if she went there, she might be
killed too.How little did she know that
she would be welcomed with open arms.One day the missionaries came to visit her at her home and taught her
about the gospel of Jesus Christ and about temple work.This made her ponder and then she knew the
Church was true and that she would meet her family after she went to the temple
and performed sacred work for them.
So, yes, she
has a testimony of Jesus Christ – that He loves us and even when we pass
through trials, he understands us.He
knows each of us by our name and if we trust in Him, He will comfort us.He will wipe away our tears and we shall be
with Him again in the Celestial Kingdom.She believes she will meet her brother again and knows he is doing
missionary work in the Spirit World.
2013, Beatrice joined the Church just after her brother passed away.She felt happy joining the Church because
although she feels alone and her family is not here, she knows she has a place
with them in the next life.
Elder Mukendi Bonne Nouvelle Kipata
Mukendi Kipata was born the 16th of June 1990 in Kinshasha.He is called to serve his mission in Lubumbashi,
DR Congo.When he was six years old,
there was a major shake-up in the government and his father, who was in the
military and a guard for the former president disappeared with the other
guards.There was much confusion and
disorder in the Country and it was concluded that the guards had been
killed.Their bodies were not recovered.Just a year later, his mother became ill and
died.Being an only child, he was then
raised by a loving grandmother from the age of 7 to 19.At the age of 19, he went to a funeral of his
25 year old cousin, who also had taken ill and passed away.While at the service, he met the first
counselor in the bishopric of the local ward who told him about the plan of
salvation.This message touched his
young heart.All of his formative years
he had worried about the well-being and status of his deceased parents.He knew that moment that the message was for
him and that it brought him great peace.The counselor in the bishopric introduced him to the missionaries and a
month and a half later, he was baptized.
As a member
of the Church the things that had bothered him as a youth, no longer were on
his mind.He felt great peace.He says that he is especially grateful to our
Heavenly Father for letting him become a member of the Church.He is sure the plan of salvation is the plan
of happiness and that we can return to live in our Heavenly Father’s
presence.He said he knows with
certainty that one day he will see his parents and all those who have
disappeared.He knows that Jesus Christ
is the son of God and that he was crucified for us.He knows also that our Heavenly Father loves
us, that the Book of Mormon contains the world of God, that Joseph Smith saw
God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.
Elder Clement Mburume
Clement Mburume from Harare, Zimbabwe was called to serve the Ghana Cape Coast
Mission.He was born on February 23,
1995 and shortly thereafter his father became ill and died.When he was three years old, his mother died.He often asked why but no one would really
explain.He thinks she was sick.
raised by his uncle (brother of his mother) and aunt, but his brother who was
older kept running away from the uncle and aunt, so was sent to an
orphanage.When Clement was 10 he was
sent to live with his grandfather for one year and then returned to the home of
his uncle.His uncle was nice to him,
but his wife was tough to live with.She
would not listen to him if he told her that their kids were acting up.Sometimes his uncle would whip him based on
false accusations by the aunt and uncle’s children.
holidays, Clement would go to the home of his other uncle (brother of his
father and a member of the Church).At
the completion of high school, he went to the uncle’s home for the holidays and
decided to be taught by the missionaries.Two months later, in February 2014, he was baptized.
home to his other uncle was difficult because the marriage was in trouble.His aunt was into using African medicines and
was acting strange.She threatened to
poison Clement, so he stopped eating her food.Life was getting more difficult living there and he was praying for the
Lord’s help in getting a life of his own in his own place.Prayers were answered and he was able to move
in with a friend and prepare for his mission.
He says life
is better now.He has faith that things
will go well after his mission as well.He has now found peace.He never
wants to depend on someone else again.He says it is hard to say if his future is bright, but has faith the
Lord will provide.