As a Kenyan teenager, Jastus Suchi Obadiah once vowed to his friends that he would physically harm any white South African he happened to meet. “My friends and I often read in the newspapers about the injustices of apartheid, and we hated white South Africans,” he explains. Fortunately, Jastus forgot his hateful vow before he ever met a South African.
As a young man, Jastus was introduced to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by his cousin, a Church member. “I’ll never forget the first missionaries who taught me; one was a black African, and one was a white elder from the United States,” says Jastus. As Jastus observed these two young men working together in harmony, “I learned there were many good people no matter what their color.
“As they taught me, the principle of love came into my heart. I realized that to be like God, you really must be loving. My sense of love grew—even for my enemies.” Two years after his baptism, Jastus was himself a missionary, serving in the Kenya Nairobi Mission.
Jastus and his senior companion seemed to work particularly well together; they shared a strong mutual respect and quickly became the best of friends. One day, as Jastus was looking into the white face of his South African companion, the long-forgotten vow made in his teens came rushing back to him. “It really affected my heart when I remembered what I had said. Then I realized how wonderful the gospel is, because it brings people together, no matter who we are or where we come from.
“And I felt how wonderful it is to teach this gospel together with my white companion,” he says. “The gospel changed the course of my life.”