I am grateful for the moments in my life when I can hear the voice of the spirit opening my senses—especially my eyes and ears to see and hear what God, my Father in Heaven, has done for me and for his children around me.
I recently had the opportunity to visit my home town, Maputo, where I received the Gospel of Jesus Christ as a single adult in 2000. My first calling in the church after a month of being a member was Primary President. At the time, I could not comprehend why I got that calling. Besides the fact that it was to look after the children during church hours, I knew nothing about Primary and the way that was supposed to be run. I was totally unsure what I was to do in this organization. I thought that the branch presidency was mistaken on their choice.
As I think about it today, it was not a choice of the branch president. It was a calling from Heavenly Father and His son Jesus Christ. In my human understanding, there were many sisters in the branch that I could point out as more prepared and capable of fulfilling that calling. Sisters that were mothers and were probably more experienced in dealing with children of different ages. Despite my feelings of inadequacy, I accepted the calling and learned line upon line and precept upon precept.
It was a great and humbling journey of learning and service. I remember many Sundays when I was the only teacher for the whole Primary. On those Sundays I had to teach music, run sharing time, and teach primary lessons. The best thing was that we always had a senior missionary sister that would play piano for our sharing time. I grew to love Primary music timewhere I could teach the gospel to the children through music. Almost every Sunday, we sang the primary songs “I hope they call me on a mission” and “Follow the Prophet” from the children’s songbook at the request of the Primary children. These were our Primary favourite songs. During my service in Primary, I learned the most basic and valuable principles that helped me grow and understand the fullness of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. I grew to love my Primary children. My Primary class varied from five to twenty and sometimes even more children on some Sundays. But I strived to know each child by name.
It felt overwhelming at times – trying to coordinate Sunday activities, music, lesson, assigning children for the following Sunday. But as I reflect upon the experience, it was a time that Heavenly Father helped me establish deep roots in the Gospel. I often felt loved and needed by the children. It was hectic, yet very rewarding calling.
I loved seeing them having the desire to come to Primary, and my favourite part was the big hugs that I would get from the children at the end of our time together. I often never knew how I was doing as a teacher, until I would hear from a parent or two that their child or their children speak about me at home. Thinking back, I realize that this was the most rewarding calling in the church – there were great needs and a huge opportunity for service.
In 2003, I married and moved to South Africa where I have lived for the past 15 years. I often visit extended family in Maputo once or twice a year. While there I like to visit different wards to worship on a Sunday. As a pioneer member in Maputo, Mozambique, I love seeing the growth of the church in my home country. I love visiting old friends – brothers and sisters in the gospel – and to meet new members. I get tremendous satisfaction from seeing that my friends are still actively engaged in this work of salvation – the gospel of Jesus Christ – standing still and immovable in faith.
I was recently in Maputo and attended Polana and Sommershield wards. I was able to catch half of the sacrament meeting from Polana and then attended other meetings in Sommershield. While sitting in the congregation I was very pleased to see one of my Primary children, Vinícius, now a married young adult. He was sitting on the stand, conducting the Sacrament Meeting. As our eyes met, we smiled at each other and as I gazed around the congregation I saw other familiar faces – one of whom was Vinicius’ brother. My eyes were filled with tears of joy to see my former Primary children, 18 years later still active in the church. After the intermediate hymn, Vinícius stood up to announce the rest of the sacrament program from the pulpit to the congregation. Vinicius served his mission in Brazil and married in the temple not long ago. He is currently studying at university and serving as the second counsellor in the bishopric of Polana ward. With tears rolling my face, my thoughts went back to those Primary years when Vinícius and his brother were part of the Primary children that I served. I could picture in my mind the things that he used do and say to me then.
I felt the Holy Ghost whispering to me “your service in Primary has made a difference to someone…look at the fruit”. I had the sweetest feeling contemplating that moment. I was reminded of the scripture found in Mosiah 2:17 that says “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God”. My heart felt full and I was glad to be able to witness Heavenly Father’s plan for each of His children. I was grateful that I accepted the calling to serve in Primary and that I strived to learn how best to serve Heavenly Father’s children during my calling. I know of many more Primary children, like Vinícius, who are faithful followers of the Saviour. Many have served full-time missions and are currently receiving an education to prepare for their future careers and in future leadership callings in the church.
I have a testimony that each of us have a mission here on earth. The Lord has a purpose for us to fulfil in this dispensation where the Gospel has been restored in its fulness. We can help Heavenly Father’s children to reach their potential and get back to him safely. Keep magnifying your calling in the church to the best of your ability. Be a good example! You might be the only light in some of Heavenly Father’s children life.