Missionary Moment: From Learning to Teaching
- At age 17, after her father’s death, Winnie Mandela had many questions about the plan of salvation. She found the missionaries, and they had her answers.
- Nearly a year and a half after her baptism, Sister Mandela entered the MTC in Ghana to prepare to serve the people in Ghana.
Sister Winnie Mandela from Kenya entered the Ghana Missionary Training Center in January. Her name, she explains, came from her father, who “simply liked the name Winnie Mandela.”
Growing up, Sister Mandela’s mother was an Anglican and her father was a Catholic. When Sister Mandela was 17, her father suffered a blood clot and died within a month, leaving her with many questions both about her life and about her father’s death.
One of her friends invited her to the LDS Church and she agreed. Two missionaries asked her to investigate the Church and she agreed.
She said the discussions included the plan of salvation, and this helped the empty feeling (from her father’s death) leave and she wanted to learn more and more.
She visited the Sosiani Branch in Kenya’s Eldoret District in May 2013, and Elder Simelane from South Africa and Elder Kigongo from Uganda taught her about the gospel of Jesus Christ and gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon, challenging her to pray about it before reading it.
Following her prayer she spent all night reading the Book of Mormon and said an answer came into her mind that “this book is true.” Along with the answer to her prayer came tears of joy.
Missionaries continued to teach her, and as she came to understand Heavenly Father’s plan, the hope that she could one day see her father again made her happy. When her father died in 2005, she had many questions that no one could answer to her satisfaction. The young missionaries, however, were able to answer many of them, and she realized that Heavenly Father wants her to return back home to Him.
In June 2013, Sister Mandela was ready to be baptized, but the two missionaries were on an assignment away from her home. She was baptized in August. Nearly a year and a half later, Sister Mandela entered the Ghana MTC, ready now to share the gospel and help others find the answers she found as missionaries taught her.
Prior to serving her mission, Sister Mandela served as a seminary teacher and in a Relief Society presidency. In addition to her native language of Swahli, she also speaks Spanish and enjoys swimming and basketball. Before her mission call she worked in sales for a software company, and prior to entering the Ghana MTC, she had never been outside of Kenya. She is serving in the Ghana Accra Mission.
“I am so thankful and grateful for the restored gospel, and I know the Book of Mormon is true,” said Sister Mandela of her journey into the Church as her missionary service began.
—President Reid Robison, Ghana MTC