I had been preparing for my mission since I was eight. But how could I leave while my family was suffering? When I was a young boy about eight years old, in my small heart swelled a desire to serve a mission. When I was 14, I started going with the elders on exchanges. This increased my desire for the work, and I also developed a love for it.
Who could have predicted that a dark cloud would soon threaten my desire to be a missionary?
When our most precious earthly possessions were taken from us, including our small house in Gweru, Zimbabwe, there was nowhere to go. We were destitute, and the load of care hung heavily on my single mother’s shoulders.
There was nothing to be done except move to my grandmother’s rural homestead. I proceeded to study at a local rural high school. Life had changed. School was far away, so I had to walk many kilometres daily. There was no electricity; I had to study by candlelight. Water had to be fetched from a nearby borehole.
In the midst of these tribulations, my family was united in prayer, but we were far away from where the chapel was. We often felt the Spirit in that remote area as we sang hymns and taught one another the gospel. I found more hope in those moments when the Spirit embraced us so strongly.
After two years in that rural area, I returned to Gweru. I started attending church, and the Spirit I had felt before returned. My family remained in the countryside, and they suffered many problems. During that time I submitted my mission papers. The money I used for medical and dental checkups could have been used to sustain my suffering family. But they did not murmur or question my motives. Both my grandmother and mother knew that I had grown in my desire to serve the Lord.
My mission call came and I was to serve in the South Africa Durban Mission. Time neared for me to leave for the mission field. I travelled to the rural area to bid my family farewell. I found my grandma lay on a mattress, ailing. She was unable to speak. Tears welled up in my eyes, and my heart was heavy. Grandma could not even tell I was there. The next morning I said my last good-bye to my seemingly lifeless grandma. Then she spoke in Shona in a clear voice: “Tafadzwa, ufambe zvakanaka.” Travel safely. That is all she could say.
That night my grandmother passed away. I went back for the funeral, and my departure to my mission was filled with sorrow. There were no smiles that usually accompany someone leaving for the mission field. But it was for my family, my country, and everyone facing hardships that I hoped to continue in faith on my mission. The heavens are not blind. To all who suffer in many nations, remember the words of the Lord to the Prophet Joseph Smith: “Let your hearts be comforted; for all things shall work together for good to them that walk uprightly, and to the sanctification of the church” (D&C 100:15).
I can’t say that things were easy on my mission or that they were easy when I returned, but I am comforted by the fact that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (see Rom. 8:35–39).
I’m grateful for the opportunity I had to serve a mission.