Going Home on My Mission

When I was 15, my elder sister Swarupa met a couple from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving as missionaries in Rajahmundry, India, and soon she was taking the missionary discussions. Although the name of the Church seemed strange to me and I didn’t understand or speak much English, I listened in on some of the discussions. I felt good about the teachings, and eventually the two of us were baptized. Later my other sister and my brother were also baptized.

Five years later I met some full-time missionaries serving in Delhi and knew immediately that I wanted to serve a mission. In August 1993 I received a call to serve in the India Bangalore Mission, but I was deeply concerned as I entered the mission field against my father’s wishes.

Halfway through my mission, I spoke with my mission president, Gurcharan Singh Gill, about my parents. Although by that time missionaries had been assigned to work in my hometown, my parents speak a native dialect and could not be taught by the English-speaking missionaries. My greatest desire was to have my parents united with me and my brother and sisters in the gospel.

Soon after my conversation with President Gill, he assigned me to go to Rajahmundry to assist with translation and to give me an opportunity to teach my parents. I had spent many years pleading with Father in Heaven to soften my parents’ hearts so they could recognize the truth. When I arrived after a 20-hour train ride, I could see that my prayers had been answered. My father had changed his mind and was supportive of me as a missionary.

A week later I taught my parents the first discussion. It was wonderful to watch my father, who had converted to Christianity when he married my mother, express his love and gratitude to Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ. My parents accepted the Book of Mormon and agreed to hear the other discussions. I was overjoyed.

Then my father began building a house and seldom had time to listen to anything more about the Church. Knowing the power of fasting and prayer, I decided to fast and pray that my father would be able to set aside time to hear the rest of the discussions. Soon after, we were able to continue with the discussions.

My parents accepted the challenge to be baptized. The zone leader interviewed them, and afterward I asked anxiously, “How did it go?”

“They’re ready!” he said.

I was very happy. During the baptismal service, I felt the Spirit so strongly that I cried for joy. Kommu Appo Rao and Kommu Mani were baptized in June 1994 on a very hot day in Rajahmundry. Finally my family was united in the true Church!

I am grateful to our Father in Heaven and to my mission president for sending me to be a missionary to my own parents.

[illustration] Illustrated by Gregg Thorkelson