The Liahona Was My Guide


In 1988 I left my home in the southeastern African nation of Mozambique to seek education and work opportunities in what was then the German Democratic Republic. While in a store I met two missionaries who asked me if I had ever heard of Jesus Christ. I said that I had heard of Him but that I didn’t really know who He was. In fact, I had never before had a belief in God. The missionaries gave me a German Book of Mormon and asked me to read from it and to pray about it. Then, because I had never before seen anyone pray, they explained how.

After their visit I read and prayed as they had suggested. A marvelous feeling of peace entered into my heart. “What is this?” I wondered.

When the missionaries visited me again, they explained that the peace in my heart was the answer to my prayer. I knew then that the book was from God. Still, I was fearful about being baptized because I thought my father might no longer accept me as his son.

In 1991, when my work contract in Germany expired, I returned home to Mozambique. My country was at war, and the Church was not yet established there. Still, I was happy in the hope that one day the Church would come to my homeland and I could be baptized. Whenever anyone would invite me to attend a church, I would tell them I already had one.

“Which one?” they would ask.

“It doesn’t exist here,” I would answer. “But it will come.” Of that I was certain.

It was eight years before I found the Church again, but during all those years, I had a guide. When I left Germany, the branch president there subscribed to A Liahona (Portuguese) for me. Each month for eight years, A Liahona came to me. And each month for eight years, it encouraged me and gave me hope. Whenever I read it, I felt as if I were with other Latter-day Saints. The magazine oriented me, filled me with great emotion, brought humble words to me, and fed my spirit. Often in the Questions and Answers section, I found answers to my own questions. For eight years, A Liahona guided me.

Then one day in 1999, full-time missionaries walked into the post office where my brother works—the same post office where my copy of A Liahona always arrives. When my brother saw Elder Patrick Tedjamulia’s name tag, he recognized the name of the Church from my magazines and asked the elder who he was. My brother explained that he had a family member in the same church, and Elder Tedjamulia asked to meet me.

When my brother told me about meeting the missionaries, I was amazed. Could it really be that the Church was here in Mozambique?

I soon learned that it was true. Our government had recognized the Church in 1996.

It was marvelous to meet with the elders again. I remembered the things the missionaries had taught me in Germany, and I felt that same peace come into my heart.

In January 2000 I was finally baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It has been a great blessing to me. I feel the Lord’s Spirit in all the work of the Church.

How grateful I am for A Liahona. I am thankful that Heavenly Father provided a guide for me, so I could continue to believe and to have hope until I could find His Church again.

[photos] Photographs coutesy of Patrick Tedjamulia

[photo] Members and missionaries gather for Filipe’s baptism in January 2000.

Filipe S. Zavale is a member of the Maputo Branch, South Africa Johannesburg Mission.