When I returned home from boarding school after matriculating, there was peculiar book in my home. It was entitled The Book of Mormon. When I opened the book, I was fascinated with the pictures, but when I tried to read it, I couldn’t understand the words. I saw that the book referred to some chapters in the Bible, and some of the chapters seemed familiar, but when I opened the Bible, I could not link it to The Book of Mormon. I dismissed the book, never realizing that The Book of Mormon would have a tremendous impact on my future life.
When we were young, our parents would gather their children and take us to church each Sunday. I remember one of my church visits when I was about four years old. I had just learnt to read, and there was an inscription on the altar. The words GOD IS LOVE were written in Xhosa, my native language. My first name, Luthando, when translated to English, means IS LOVE. So from an early age I had associated my name with Heavenly Father and had always felt that I would be involved in the work of the Lord. However the very thought of this scared me, for I had always associated the Lord’s work with preaching in the streets in a loud voice, so I completely dismissed the thought.
Very early in our lives our mother taught us how to pray. She built in us a foundation of seeking the Lord in all we do. My faith in God was strengthened as He answered my prayers. When I was 14 years old, I had the opportunity to receive a scholarship to study at one of the most prestigious high schools in South Africa. I prayed as I had been taught by my mother, and I received the scholarship.
I really admired my mother and was very close to her. My life changed when I was 20 years old and my mother died tragically in a car accident. Every success and every good deed I did had been to make her proud of me and to show her how much I loved her. With her gone, I was lost. I became depressed and fell into a darkness that lasted for more than five years.
When I was in the depth of that abyss, not knowing how to deal with my life, I remembered that my mother had taught me to pray. Her influence was still affecting me. I reached out to heaven and called for help. At that moment, I felt the love of my Heavenly Father. The message I received during that prayer was, “It is good to be good.” For the first time in a long while I had a smile on my face. I began to seek the truth about God, but the church of my youth did not provide the answers I sought.
One day while visiting a friend, I met the missionaries. Their appearance alone made me think that they might be able to guide me to the answers I sought. I invited them to my home. When they presented the story about the first vision and the restored gospel, I knew it was the truth that I had been seeking. I was baptised in March 2000. One of the crowning events in my life was when I was sealed to my wife, Nomava, and my three daughters, born in the covenant, continue to be a blessing to me.
The feelings that I had as a child, that I would be involved in the Lord’s work, have been realised in my life as I have served as a branch president in Khayelitsha and in George. I now serve as a counsellor in a stake presidency. I love my Saviour Jesus Christ and my Father in Heaven.