Working hard as a missionary in the Sierra Leone Freetown Mission was not an easy task for George Mphaka. It became even harder when he was evacuated to protect him from the Ebola epidemic killing thousands of people.
The displaced missionary did not know what his new area would bring, but to his surprise it changed his life for the better. Serving in the South Africa Durban Mission for the next 14 months not only helped George strengthen his testimony of Jesus Christ, it helped him totally redirect his career.
As George discussed plans with his mission president, his leader suggested that he “stick with numbers” for his future career. George pondered and prayed about it, and he decided to pursue accounting. Although he had been accepted to study political science at two prestigious universities in South Africa, he asked his family to get his declared major changed before his return. Despite their efforts, the answer was no.
Unsure where he could obtain the training he wanted in accounting, George shared his frustration with his missionary companion in his last area, Lesotho. The companion encouraged him to consider LDS Business College, which resonated as a good idea for George. When he returned from his mission, he decided to “give the school a shot.”
After fulfilling all the requirements needed, George received his acceptance letter from LDSBC. Getting a U.S. visa, however, proved to be a challenge. He relied on the wise words of his mother to carry him through. She said, “If you go for the sake of the Lord, everything will be possible.” As George acted with faith, he obtained a student visa. Shortly after that, he moved to Salt Lake City, a place far from his upbringing.
“For the first time in my life, I felt alone,” he said. “Everything was foreign then.” He struggled as he tried to adapt to a new educational system, study for his quizzes, work part-time, and keep a balanced social life. To his dismay, George failed the first quiz in his first accounting class. Stressed and unsure, he turned to his accounting teacher, a kind man who would also mentor him.
The teacher told George he was always welcome to come to his office and ask questions. “Even though he was really busy all the time, he always made time to help me,” said George. “He was approachable, and he helped me feel I could succeed.” George worked hard to gain a skills-based education, and with support from his teacher, at the end of the semester George obtained an A+ in accounting.
“I appreciate how the teacher focus at the College is more about helping students and less about prestige and pay,” he said. “The teachers have helped me learn the skills I need, and they have helped me gain the confidence I need to get the job I desire.”
George treasures the assistance he has received through scholarships, first as a returned missionary and now as a sophomore. “Without them, I could not have funded my education this far,” he said. “I wouldn’t be able to continue. I work extra hard as my way of saying thank you to every donor.”
George cherishes the wide diversity of students at the College. “Coming here really opened my eyes and helped me to realize that we are all children of God,” he said. “We may be of different races, but we are all friends and family to me. We see each other as a college family.”
After finishing his internship as a Data Analyst for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and graduating from LDSBC in accounting, George would like to obtain his bachelor’s degree. “I hope to help motivate others to obtain an education as well,” he said. “I stand as an example that it doesn’t matter who you are, the Lord can help you.”