African Church Member Sold Bananas to Pay for His Mission

Contributed By Rachel Sterzer, Church News staff writer

  • 16 March 2016

Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, right, poses with Elder Cedrick Tshiambwe, who is serving as a missionary in the Democratic Republic of Congo Mission. Elder Tshiambwe sold bananas for four years to help pay for his mission.

Article Highlights

  • Elder Tshiambwe sold bananas to pay for four years to finance his mission.
  • His spiritual preparations included attending institute and studying the Book of Mormon.

“I love the Lord and I’m thankful to be able to serve Him. Also, I love my fellowmen and I have the desire to share the gospel with them.” —Elder Cedrick Tshiambwe, Democratic Republic of Congo Kinshasa Mission

Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said he was uplifted by the stories of the people he met on a recent trip to southeast Africa. One of those individuals was Elder Cedrick Tshiambwe, who is serving as a missionary in the Democratic Republic of Congo Kinshasa Mission.

Elder Tshiambwe joined the Church in Luputa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, when he was 12 years old after reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. In order to serve a mission, he needed a passport, which costs about $250. To earn the money, he purchased bananas from neighboring towns to take back to Luputa to sell. Using his bicycle, he could transport about four to six bunches at a time and, depending on the day, ride as far as Lusuku, some 18 miles away, to purchase the bananas. If he woke up early enough in the morning, and he wasn’t overly fatigued, he could make two trips per day.

It took Cedrick four years, but he saved enough to pay for his passport as well as to buy clothes and scriptures and to be able to contribute to his mission.

In an email to the Church News, Elder Tshiambwe shared that he decided to serve a mission for several reasons. First, because it’s a commandment and part of his priesthood duty. But more important, “I love the Lord and I’m thankful to be able to serve Him. Also, I love my fellowmen and I have the desire to share the gospel with them.”

In addition to his financial preparations, Elder Tshiambwe said he prepared spiritually for his mission by studying the Book of Mormon, fasting and praying, serving as a ward missionary in Kabusanga, and attending seminary and institute. All his preparations, he said, taught him how to sacrifice and “to serve with all my strength and with diligence, to work with love and efficiency, and to love missionary work.”