Below is a really amazing story that I wanted to share with you. This is typical of the little miracles we see almost every day here. But this one is particularly well documented. Let be give you a little backstory, and then read Jennifer Robison's email. (attached below)
BACKSTORY: This email is from Sister Robison. She and her husband are here as senior missionaries. What makes her unique is that she lived in South Africa for all her life before divorcing and then moving to Utah. In Utah, she met her current husband and they have been married for 16 months. They decided to serve a couples mission and on her application she indicated she would be happy to go anywhere, “…except South Africa.” So of course they are called to South Africa. They arrived two months ago and are working as Welfare Service missionaries. However, on the weekends, most of our senior couples also have a ward or branch assignment. When I ran into them last week they told me that the Area President executive Secretary had not assigned them to a ward yet. So they asked for my help. What came to my mind immediately was that they could be best used in the District I oversee, the Vaal District. I had a branch there in mind but as I called the District President to get his thoughts on where they would best be assigned, he suggested a tiny little branch called Sebokeng. As soon as he said it it just felt right. So I called the Robisons and assigned them to Sebokeng. Is God really in the details? Read her email below and then tell me…
From: Jennifer Robison <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sunday 24 July 2016 at 20:03
To: Michael Dunn <email@example.com>
Subject: It has begun....
Dear President Dunn,
Contrary to what the dates are on our official mission call, today was the beginning for me. I have struggled since our arrival to find my niche in the mission field. Our humanitarian work, although rewarding and service in its purest form (...And they did impart of their substance, every man according to that which he had, to the poor, and the needy... Because of the steadfastness of the church they began to be exceeding rich, having an abundance of all things... Therefore they were liberal to all... Having no respect to persons as to those who stood in need. Alma 1:27,29-30) I have always felt that something is missing for me. Today I found it.
Just driving to Sebokeng this morning I expressed to Ace the excitement I felt within to have a place to call my own, give of myself, build up the kingdom and put my testimony of service into action amongst Heavenly Father's children. You are right. This is a spirituallly strong, reverent and determined congregation. I was at home the instant we walked through the chapel doors.
And then a miracle occurred at the start of Relief Society. The RS president conducted the meeting, during the formalities of greetings and announcements she stopped and looked at me. "Sister Jenny, don't you recognize me?" She asked...
Back to 1981 when I returned home from my mission with one baptism count and nothing else but my own conversion story. I began working at the same company as my father. He being Afrikaans and raised in the heart of apartheid did not have much love and even less respect for any black person. He did not try and disguise his dislike for them. Isaac Mbele had worked at the company as a driver and endured my father's prejudices on many occasion. I have never seen colour and instantly love and accept all people. Isaac approached me one day and asked why I was so different from my father, and where had I been the whole time. This opened the door to me sharing my very recent missionary experiences.
Isaac and his wife Lydia and later, when she turned 8, their daughter Pauline were baptized into the Vereeniging Ward in 1981. Soon after I was married and moved to Johannesburg. Ahead to 1985 and the dedication of the Johannesburg temple. As happy members from all over the country mingled at the doors after the meeting I found this wonderful couple and our embrace was captured
Life continued and I heard that they drifted away from the church.
24 July 2016... The RS of the the Sebokeng branch is Sister Lydia Mbele. This time there were no flashing cameras to capture the moment as we embraced and tears of pure joy were shed. Just a reverent body of women witnessing the bonding of sisterhood, irrespective of colour, melt away the years of separation in an instance. As brother Isaac was called out of priesthood he wept openly as we too enveloped our arms around each other. There daughter Pauline is an active member in Kempton Park and married to a returned missionary. President thank you for this opportunity to serve in this little branch. Ace also came home glowing with gospel love. There are no coincidences in life. The heavens are in charge if we open our hearts and with trust and confidence say, "Thy will be done."
3 Phillips Avenue