Everyone knows how important missionaries are to the work of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mission presidents emphasize that sister missionaries are rare jewels. One mission president told the young elders, “These sisters are gold. They are under no obligation to serve, as you are. See that you treat them like gold!” Sister Dudu Simphiwe Manzini wanted to become a missionary from the first time she met the elders.
She says, “I grew up in Manguzi, South Africa but left shortly after completing my Senior 12 exams and went to live with my older brother and his family in Johannesburg.” About four months later, her brother unexpectedly became ill and passed away within a week. Sister Manzini remembers, “No one could believe what happened. The loss of my brother was devastating.”
She continues, “About one year after my brother’s death, my sister found me crying and asked what was troubling me. I told her that I had been praying sincerely and fasting once a week to try and find peace and accept that our brother was gone. “
She was unaware of it, but another brother who lived in Sierra Leone (West Africa) visited the website mormon.org, where he gave out his sister’s contact information. Sister Manzini explains, “We knew that he had left the church in which we had been raised, but we did not know he was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. When two sister missionaries in the United States followed up on the contact information and called her, my sister told them she was not interested and hung up. But I was, and we agreed that if they called again, she would let them talk to me.
“It happened. The missionary sisters called again. I took the phone, and it was great! We were praying and reading scriptures over the phone. From there they referred me to the Johannesburg missionaries and the chapel closest to me.
“When the Elders came for their first visit, I was so surprised and happy to see ‘Men of God’ in their black slacks and clean white shirts. They taught me about the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and asked me to pray about it. As they left, I stood by the window with tears rolling down my face and thought to myself, ‘Surely they are God’s servants. I hope to be just like them some day and serve a mission for the Lord.”
“I went inside my bedroom, closed the door, and knelt down and prayed. God answered my prayers, as the missionaries had promised. I had an unusual feeling, one of peace and joy in my heart. I did not doubt that the feeling was a witness of the truth of what I had been taught.”
Just three weeks after Sister Manzini began meeting with the missionaries, she was baptized on July 10, 2011. She found great peace in knowing that families are forever and that her deceased brother would have the opportunity to hear the Gospel in the Spirit World.
Though few members of her family are currently members of the Church, Sister Manzini accepted a call to serve in the Uganda Kampala Mission. She says, “My family did not give me permission to go on a mission, but they accepted it.” She told them, “We will talk when I come back.”
Sister Manzini concludes, “Perhaps sharing my story may be Heavenly Father’s way of touching them.” There is no question that this sister missionary is gold.