The Gospel Changed Our Family

The Gospel Changed Our Family

As a child Dan Balyejusa lived near the shore of Lake Victoria in Entebbe, Uganda. The lake is beautiful, but Dan was too busy to spend much time admiring it. He could often be found digging in his family's back garden under the broad leaves of banana trees. Here he cultivated and harvested cassavas, yams, and potatoes.

Each member of Dan’s family has an African name as well as an English name. Dan’s African name is  Mugwisa. Dan wasn’t always as helpful as he is now. The “old” Dan didn’t like to work. He was sometimes disobedient and impolite, and he didn’t study very hard. Then one day his father, Jones, met two Latter-day Saint missionaries on the street. In time, the whole family joined the Church. Learning that he was a child of God who could grow to be like his Father in Heaven gave Dan a new point of view. Of his baptism, he said, “I felt forgiven and clean and good, and since then, the Holy Ghost has helped me do what I should. And when I repent, He helps me know that I’m forgiven.”

Seeing himself differently, Dan began seeing others that way as well. “I love my brothers and sisters like I love myself. I would do anything for them.” Dan changed in other ways, too. Barely able to read, he studied hard and became a good reader and a good student. Brother Balyejusa noticed a change in all his children. “Since we joined the Church, I don’t have as many problems with my family. We are now like one person. Before, we were divided.”

To stay united, the Balyejusas hold a family home evening with scripture reading and a lesson each evening. When it’s Dan’s turn to give the lesson, he usually talks about repentance and forgiveness. Each Sunday afternoon, the missionaries come and give the family a special lesson. The elders are like big brothers to Dan, teasing and teaching and guiding him. Dan wants to follow their example and serve a mission himself someday.
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On any Sunday morning, one of the finest sights in Entebbe is the Balyejusa family walking to church in their Sunday best. Their faces shine with joy at the prospect of taking the sacrament and studying the gospel with the brothers and sisters of their branch.

Uganda, like most of Africa, is a land of many ethnic groups and languages. Dan speaks Bugosa and Buganda as well as English. Better yet, he is becoming fluent in the most important language of all—the language of the Spirit.