The Weak Become Strong

  By Sister Naylor

  • 24 July 2013

Luke at the Parktown Family History Centre with his South African tie hanging on his shoulder

Article Highlights

  • Everybody treats him as a normal person, and he does not consider himself handicapped.

“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”

Luke Padoa was born on April 13, 1991, in Springs-Johannesburg, South Africa, and has lived his entire life there. In July 2012 Luke was set apart as a service missionary to the Parktown Family History Centre. He received his endowment at the Johannesburg Temple. The senior missionaries awarded him with a South African tie similar to the ones they wear. Luke arrives every Tuesday morning before any of the missionaries and begins assisting patrons with their family history. After senior missionaries hold their devotional, they all eat homemade treats that they have brought.

Luke plans to continue serving for as long as he is able. He is a wonderful friend to the senior missionaries and loves to hide in the centre and have the missionaries find him. Why is it that the missionaries love him so much? 

Elder Padoa is confined to a wheelchair after being diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) at the age of three. DMD is a rapidly progressive form of muscular dystrophy that occurs primarily in boys. He has gone through several painful operations and never complains. Everybody treats him as a normal person, and he does not consider himself handicapped.  He does all that is possible to enjoy life and serve in the Church. He loves spending time with his father. They enjoy going hunting, playing video games, and flying remote airplanes together. When Elder Padoa is alone, he spends most of his time reading the scriptures and good novels, looking after his dog, and using his phenomenal artistic talent to draw animals for greeting cards to help pay for his wheelchair batteries.

Certainly, Elder Padoa exemplifies to people throughout the world the words of Ether 12:27: “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”