Augustane Dimingu was baptized when he was ten, and his whole family was active in the Church. What might appear to be a great blessing became a considerable problem: Augustane was a very good soccer player, so good, in fact, that he was on his way to becoming professional. The problem? Most games were played on Sunday.
At first he tried to attend Church and play soccer on Sundays, too, but before long, Augustane found he had stopped attending Church altogether. He started wearing dreadlocks and making other changes in his life. Nevertheless, his Church friends never gave up on him. They visited him at home and invited him to Church activities.
After many months of Church inactivity, Augustane was invited to an unusual priesthood activity—playing soccer at a lake. That was his favorite thing to do. How could he resist? He later wrote, “I went to the activity. I still had my plaited hair, but no one laughed at me. Instead, they all welcomed me and made me feel comfortable. They were genuinely happy to see me again.”
One Sunday, a friend picked Augustane up for Church and invited him to fast. Augustane wrote, “I replied that I would love to. And I did it. I fasted. From that day, I became strong in the gospel and in the Church. I ended up joining my stake choir and singing in stake conference. Some members didn’t recognize me as I was singing, because my dreadlocks were shaved off and I looked very different.”
Before long, Augustane's bishop suggested that he should serve a full-time mission. He agreed and eagerly submitted his papers. Unfortunately, while he was waiting for his call, his mother passed away. He later wrote, “It was a very hard time for me because I was left with a few months before I was to go on my mission. But the Lord blessed me with strength, and I was comforted by the Holy Ghost. Once I got into the mission field, God continued to bless me with missionaries who helped me.”
Elder Dimingu concluded with his testimony: “I know that this restored gospel is true and it changes people's lives. I know this because it has changed mine. Never, never, never give up.”
Read how other members returned to church activity.