Emmanuel Mbayo was struggling in life. He did not have a permanent job and remarked, “I lived every day as a rooster, trying to find food.”
On a typical morning in 2010, Emmanuel woke up hungry, but he prepared to seek employment and “to pursue everyday life.” At the very least, he would try to find a bite to eat. Then he remembered a request from his bishop for all young adults to come and help clean the meetinghouse. He remembered the small number of members who had responded previously and knew the task weighed heavily on the bishop. Many times the bishop and his wife were left to clean the meetinghouse alone.
Emmanuel felt prompted to change his plans for the day stating, “I decided to go clean the meetinghouse because I supposed that the young people would not respond and the bishop would have to clean the meetinghouse by himself again.” Led by the spirit, Emmanuel obeyed the feelings in his heart and arrived at the meetinghouse. He found no young people there. The bishop was indeed cleaning the building alone. Emmanuel quickly pitched in to help, and in a short time they had all the cleaning tasks completed.
Emmanuel remembers, “The joy I felt after that service strikes me as beyond description. It was characterized by a warmth that soothed my chest.” Though his day did not proceed as he had planned, Emmanuel was “content with the joy that service gave me.”
At a following sacrament meeting, the bishop reiterated that the call to participate in meetinghouse cleaning was from the Prophet, and Emmanuel responded once again.This time, the bishop had an additional request: could Emmanuel “help to improve a garden at one of the other meetinghouses?”
Emmanuel’s answer was, “Of course!”
What he didn’t realize at the time, was the Lord was blessing him for his service to Him by cleaning the meetinghouse. Accepting this other assignment opened another door of opportunity for him.
“Because of the gardening that I was doing,” Emmanuel reports, “I was approached and received a gardening contract for two years! It gave me the income that allowed me to pay my tithes; I could now pay my rent each month and had food on my table.'
He concludes, “Today I understand the meaning of 3 Nephi 13:33:‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.’ This feeling has pushed me to go often [for cleaning opportunities] and take my family so we can all feel that joy.” Truly, great blessings come as we serve unselfishly.
Excerpted from Emmanuel Mbayo from the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Number #2 in a series of Member Participation and Meetinghouse Care stories. If you have a personal experience with either, please share it by sending your story directly to the Meetinghouse Facilities Department, firstname.lastname@example.org.