I did not grow up as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. During the depression all the men in our household were unemployed. My grandmother would get all of us to kneel together every morning to pray with her before the men left to seek work. All of my relatives managed to find work, so I came to believe that the Lord answers prayers.
When I was about 19 I dated many boys who all indulged in strong drink and tobacco. I was very much against this and prayed that the Lord would send me a different type of man. Not long afterwards, I met the man who would become my husband, James Cerff. The Lord had truly answered my prayers.
My husband enlisted in the Second World War. It was at this time that I made a practice of praying on my knees every night for my husband’s safety. One day he was ordered to clear a path of mines in the desert. The mine blew up, killing all the men who were working with my husband, except him. He was taken to hospital with a severe leg wound. I knew that the Lord had heard and answered my prayers.
Up until that time we had attended another church regularly. Then for three years we didn’t attend any church at all, but I worried about how we were going to the beach instead of church on the Sabbath day. My husband finally said that he would join the first church that came along. The next day while I was cleaning the house, I heard a voice say to me, “Why don’t you pray about joining a church?” I prayed then that the Lord would direct my footsteps to the true church.
About a week later the Mormon missionaries called at my door. That night I told my husband that two young Americans had called and had left a pamphlet and their phone number. He amazed me by saying that he would read it, and that we should at least give these young men a hearing. Perhaps, he said, this is what we are looking for. Everything the missionaries told us seemed to ring true. Soon after that we were baptised.
I can truly say that the church is true. I testify to its divinity. We are very blessed.
Sister Lillian Cerff is now 98 years old and attends the Panorama ward in Cape Town, South Africa.
Excerpted from Autobiographical Sketches of the South African Mission 1969 by Collette Burgoyne