Newly Called Elder Dube Shares Testimony of the Gospel
By R. Scott Lloyd, Church News staff writer
As a young man in Zimbabwe, Edward Dube was introduced to the gospel by Leaster Heath, in whose home he worked and who gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon.
It took him two years to develop the interest to read it, but when he did, its influence was powerful.
“I remember sitting in a railway station and reading the book,” said Elder Dube, who was sustained at April general conference as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. “I read it for a very long time that day. To me, what was touching was the Prophet Joseph Smith’s testimony, when he related his experience with Moroni’s visitation to him. I would be reading in the middle of the book and go back to the introduction and just read that part.”
There were no LDS missionaries laboring in the Kwekwe Branch, where he was living, but in February 1984, he responded to an invitation from a branch member to attend fast and testimony meeting. He was uncomfortable at first and sat in the back row, feeling that he was in a servant relationship to most of those in attendance. But as the branch president and others bore witness of the Book of Mormon, he felt a connection.
“I was able to share my feelings about the Book of Mormon,” he said.
When missionaries arrived in the branch in August, he began formally investigating the Church and was baptized on the 19th of that month.
Some two years later, he would be serving full-time himself in the Zimbabwe Harare Mission, from 1986 to 1988.
While there he became acquainted with the family of Naume Keresia Salazini. Introduced to the gospel by her brother, they had been receiving missionary lessons. Elder Dube and his companion completed teaching the lessons, and Naume was baptized by her brother just before he departed on his own mission. She was 16 at the time.
After Elder Dube was released from his mission, they continued their association and were married in Kwekwe December 9, 1989, followed by a sealing in the Johannesburg South Africa Temple in May 1992.
Elder Dube pursued an education, doing some studying in entrepreneurship through the University of South Africa but eventually earning a diploma in education from Zimbabwe D.E. College in 1992.
That, plus experience teaching Church seminary part-time, prepared him for full-time employment with the Church Educational System. He would spend the next 17 years traveling through Zimbabwe and the neighboring countries of Zambia and Malawi to establish the programs of seminary and institute.
“Today, when I look at the Church in those countries, the whole leadership, almost, are men who came through seminary and institute, and I had the privilege of handing them certificates at the end of each year,” Elder Dube reflected. “It’s just so amazing to see how that has changed the country.”
Asked what is the greatest need of youth today as they meet challenges facing their generation, Elder Dube said, “We have felt the witness of the true gospel as it was restored beginning in 1820. What’s left is to fully embrace the gospel culture of the Savior Jesus Christ. I think, as we lead our youth in that, they will be blessed in many ways.”
He said he feels that throughout the Church the members young and old are trying very hard, but some seem to be clinging to old ways that hinder them in progressing through the culture of Christ.
Following Christ was a point of emphasis in Elder Dube’s service as president of the Zimbabwe Harare Mission from 2009 to 2012. “Relying on the Savior Jesus Christ is the answer to any young man or young woman or any mission president out there,” he said “Just directing the missionaries to look up to the Savior is a great source of success.”
“A challenge to become” was the slogan in the mission as he focused on encouraging the missionaries to develop the attributes of the Savior as listed in the missionary guide Preach My Gospel.
The bond of love forged by President and Sister Dube with the missionaries with whom they served was reflected in the fact that by Monday morning following the conference at which he was sustained, his in-box was flooded with more than 200 congratulatory emails from former missionaries and their parents.
Elder and Sister Dube have reared their three daughters and son in the gospel. Some of their cherished family memories go back to the 12-hour automobile trips they would make from their home to attend the temple in Johannesburg, South Africa. They passed the time with games and jokes. “Our son is good at that,” Sister Dube said.
Through the years, they participated in the growth of the Church and in helping their brothers and sisters in the gospel overcome trials.
“We had some hard times in Zimbabwe,” Elder Dube reflected. Lives were being lost and homes being destroyed in the midst of political turmoil. “I remember a sister coming to me and saying, ‘What do we do now?’ I remember kneeling and asking Heavenly Father what I should say to the Saints in the stake over which I presided. I remember the very clear direction came as to what to say, and I said to this sister, along with the other members, ‘We just need to continue to do the very basic things we’ve been doing: family prayers, family scripture study, and family home evenings, and I want you to know that we will all be OK.’ ”
He felt personally strengthened to think the Lord, through him, would deliver counsel to guide and comfort those over whom he had pastoral watchcare.
“I look back on my life and I truly feel grateful,” he said, recalling a memorable message from President Ezra Taft Benson that, unlike the world, the Lord works from the inside out to improve men and women, that rather than changing the environment, Christ changes people and they in turn improve their environment.
“I just want to say the gospel has been everything in my life,” he said.