When Sister Tingey and I were living in Africa, I was sent to the little country of Burundi in east-central Africa. Several faithful families had been holding Church services in their homes, and they desired to have missionaries assigned to help them.
I met with a fine gentleman who represented the government. I explained who we were, what we taught, and how establishing our Church in his country would bless the lives of the people. When I finished, he said, “I do not see where anything you have told me is any different from what is currently available in our country. I see no reason to approve your request to bring missionaries into our country.”
I was devastated. My meeting was almost over, and in a moment I would be ushered out. I prayed secretly in my heart for something to say. In an instant, a thought came to my mind. I reached into my wallet and pulled out a little copy of the For the Strength of Youth booklet, which I have always carried. In the remaining moments of our visit, I quickly shared with him how each of the young people in our Church had a copy of this pamphlet. I read some of the topics and explained that we teach our young people these patterns.
“You mean to tell me you expect the youth of your church to live these standards?” he asked.
“Yes, and they do,” I replied.
“That is amazing,” he said. “Could you send me some of these booklets so that I could distribute them to the youth of my church?”
I returned to Johannesburg and sent about 500 copies of the pamphlets in French and English. A month or so later we received official recognition from the government of Burundi, authorizing our Church to be established in that country.
I do not know the significance of my participation in that event, but I definitely know that the For the Strength of Youth pamphlet was quickly recognized by this good man as something of great value and was likely instrumental in our securing official recognition.
Taken from “Establishing Eternal Patterns,” Elder Earl C. Tingey, Ensign, October, 2004.