Finding the gospel is one of life’s great blessings as it develops into a matter of conviction, contemplation, and prayer. Unfortunately for some, it deteriorates into a matter of opposition and interference. Brother Jordin-Jordin Kialanda from Mampala, Democratic Republic of the Congo had such an experience in his life. He first became interested in the Church at the age of seven, yet was finally baptized at the age of eighteen.
He says, “I am grateful for my parents, even though they were not members of the Church. They kept me on a safe and straight path. They taught me correct principles: to pray, to study and work hard, and to love my eight brothers and sisters.”
His mother had a testimony of the Church and even had a brother who had served a mission, but she had not been baptized because of her husband’s opposition. When her husband passed away in 2008, Jordin was just sixteen. She worked very hard to keep the family of nine children together.
Jordin remembers, “I am grateful to my mother, for it was through her huge efforts that we were able to study, and eventually reach our potential. She suffered a lot for me, and I will never forget it.”
The sixteen-year old was able to continue in school because his father’s family had agreed to pay for his schooling expenses. That is, until they found the family was meeting with the full-time missionaries. Jordin recalls, “After a while, I ceased to see the full-time missionaries because of my father’s family interference. Since they were paying for my schooling expenses, they insisted I go to their place of worship. This turned into such a point of contention that if I were to continue to attend The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, their support for my schooling would be withdrawn. I endured their rule, but my spirit was strongly grieved.”
He watched many missionaries come and go until one day the right missionaries arrived at the right time. Despite the family’s circumstances, they felt impressed to invite these two missionaries into the house. Jordin found them remarkable: “They had pleasant demeanors and nice smiles. They were modest in appearance, yet courageous. I will never forget their names: Elder Bogui from the Ivory Coast and Elder Kabwika, a Congolese missionary. When they learned about the opposition the family had endured, they were sympathetic, yet undaunted. Their focus was on determining the truth. ‘Then what other people think,’ they pointed out, ‘does not matter.’
“Every time I met with them they encouraged me to seek for myself my own testimony of the restored gospel,” Jordin recalled. “Every time I looked for answers to my questions or concerns I found what I was looking for in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I had a growing conviction that the gospel was true. Reading the Book of Mormon had become a daily activity. I came to love the gospel as well as the Church. While I was not yet a member, I participated in the meetings and activities of the Church.”
Finally, in February 28, of 2010 he made the courageous decision to be baptized. He was grateful for the missionaries who helped him gain a testimony for himself. Persecution and opposition did not stop after his baptism, but this time he used the example of the prophet Lehi and stated, “With fervor and steadfastness I was coming to partake of the fruit of the tree (1 Nephi 8:30). My conversion to the Church was not easy, but nothing can shake the testimony I have acquired of the fullness of the restored gospel! “
Elder Kialanda put his faith into practice and went on to serve as a full-time missionary himself. He followed the model of the two missionaries who made sure he gained his own testimony, because in a world of opposition and persecution, it is the only way to prevail.