Sunday, December 29, 2013

Lwazi Mpilo Mchunu

    Finding a book without a cover drew the curiosity of a young sixteen year old boy.  As he read the introduction he knew the book would change his life. Since then a lot has happened to Lwazi Mchunu, now twenty-four years old, who will be leaving on his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons),  January 9th, to serve in the country of Kenya.   When asked how he was feeling about serving a mission he said, "I have two feelings, first I am very excited because I always wanted to go on a mission and I believe this will be the foundation for the rest of my life, and also I am emotional that I'm able and worthy to pay my Heavenly Father for his kindness to me." 
    In December 2005, at 16 years old, he went to visit his mother in Durban, South Africa for Christmas holiday.  His uncle was a member of the church and had tried to teach Lwazi’s mother the gospel and brought her a book to read.  When Lwazi found the book it didn’t have a cover on it.  When he discovered it was the Book of Mormon he was curious and because his mother was at work all day, he began to read the book.  "I have always been interested in religion and attended the Catholic church as a child, when I read the book I felt the Spirit, but I didn’t know what I felt only that I had a special feeling. When I went home to my father's house after my holiday I took the book with me." He read the book in 4 months and knew that the message was true. He didn’t know what to do with that knowledge so he called his uncle who was so happy for him and told him to keep reading  the book.  Lwazi would wait until everyone went to sleep, then he would read it quietly.  He read the book three times until in 2007 his uncle moved to Pietermartizburg and he was finally able to attend an LDS chapel for the first time.  "I would go to my uncle’s house for the weekend and that is where I met the missionaries."  Lwazi was baptized on March 18th, 2007, two years after he first read the Book of Mormon.
     Finishing his metric at the top of his class in 2007, his parents expected him to enter college.  As the oldest child in the family he was expected to set an example.  He wanted to serve a mission, but his family thought going on a mission would be an opportunity wasted. After struggling with his families disappointment, Lwazi decided to go to work and in 2009 accepted a teaching position at the school where he graduated and later worked in sales at two large cooperate companies where he worked his way up to manager status. "The company had a vision to promote young black Africans and I was identified as one of those men.", said Lwazi "They wouldn't understand if I wanted to quit because of a mission."  During this time he was only able to go to church once or twice a month because of work and it took three taxi's to get to his ward.  Life was difficult with many temptations because of the type of people that he was living with in Durban.  "I knew the church cut off date for missionaries was 25 years old and I needed to do something.  I had a lot of responsibilities, it would be very difficult to resign and I didn't want to disappoint them." said Lwazi.  Shortly afterwards, the company started to take a different direction. "I think it was God that was preparing a way for me to quit. It was a good time for me to say that I didn’t think the company was going in the direction that would fit me.  I quit my job in 2013 and began to spend my time preparing for my mission,” remembered Lwazi
    Recalling the moment his mother wanted to go to church brought him great joy.  Not wanting to go to church alone he approached her to express his feelings.  She said that she had been thinking about going to church herself.  The next Sunday they all went as a family.  Since then, his mother and four siblings have been baptized.
    "I know there are a lot of people who have had experiences like me and they think there is no more hope for them, they think it is all over, but I may be able to go and offer them hope."  Lwazi continued with some advice for others. "Somewhere in the world, some young man or women have been experiencing something like what I experienced, they feel restricted because of their families beliefs or traditions, I would tell those people to continue doing right, not to fight with them but just continue doing right.  Trust in God and His timing, it is different than our timing and those things that happen are for our own good. I look at the four years I didn’t go on my mission, and I think if you would have taken that from me now you would have taken something very valuable.   It’s something I wouldn’t trade for anything, it has molded me and made me the person that I am. It’s going through those challenges and trials that have keep me going. I realize it was meant to happen it was not a coincidence.  It is what God wanted to happen and that gives me a feeling of comfort."





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  3. Hi. I am an Area Editor for the Church. Part of my task is to collect faith-promoting stories for the Area website This is a great story and I would love to use it. If you are willing, would you please send me your email address so that I can give you the permission form to sign. My email address is Thanks so much. Collette Burgoyne