News Release

Five Mormon Missionaries From Swaziland

The smallest country in Africa is producing big results.  Five fulltime missionaries were set apart on 20 June 2012 in Swaziland.  This now makes 13 Elders and Sisters serving missions from the Swaziland District.  There are only four Branches in Swaziland, and they have a dream of someday becoming a Stake.  With the help of these and other missionaries, the dream can become a reality.  All four branches and even the small group are currently contributing full time missionaries.

The new Elders, who entered the Johannesburg MTC on the same day, are:  Elder Mabuza, from the Nhlangano Branch, going to the South Africa Johannesburg Mission; Elder Mabuza, from the Nhlangoano Branch, going to the Zambia Lusaka Mission; Elder Sibandze, from the Manzini Branch, going to the South Africa Johannesburg Mission; and Elder Dube, from the Manzini Branch, going to the Zimbabwe Harare Mission.  Elder Brian Simelane from the Mbanane Branch left for Kenya just one month ago.

The two Mabuza Elders are brothers.  Because their mother passed, the boys are the “acting parents” to their younger sisters. The brothers have stayed home, providing for their family, until their sisters were old enough to live with a relative and continue attending school.  It is difficult for them to leave their sisters in someone else’s care after parenting them for so long, but they know the sacrifice will produce blessings for them.

The other three boys have similar stories, being raised by extended family members, either because of death, separation, or parents being required to work far from home.  Each has worked hard to help support family, and still maintain their efforts and faith in the gospel.

It is part of a Mission President’s calling to interview and set apart missionaries in International Areas (Member Districts).  President James C. Von Stetten, President of the South Africa Durban Mission, had the privilege of working with these young men, and setting them apart as missionaries.  President Von Stetten said, “Seldom do you ever have five in one district at the same time, let alone five Elders coming from the smallest country in the Southern Hemisphere.”

President Von Stetten said that the Area goal is to have as many Missionaries serving from a District as there are Missionaries serving in the District.  Currently there are 16 Elders in Swaziland and 13 Missionaries serving from Swaziland.  “This is a really big effort from such a small country,” he states.  Another young lady has just put her mission papers in and will receive her call soon.

“These young men and women will all come back and strengthen their Branches, and help to further establish the church in Swaziland,” says President Von Stetten.  They have had great examples of leadership by Young Men and Young Women leaders, Missionaries serving in the area, and Priesthood leaders.  In particular, Elder and Sister Blackburn, Senior Missionaries from St George, Utah, helped prepare them for missions with leader support, and Mission Preparation Classes.  Elder and Sister Lombardi, the new Senior Couple in Swaziland, helped prepare them for full time service from the time they got their calls.  Good leaders are essential in helping youth prepare for missions, but in Swaziland it is particularly important as they may have little other support.

Being first generation members and often being raised by someone other than their biological parents, the things they will learn on their mission will not only be a strength to the church, but they will be prepared for the responsibility of leadership, and also begin a family structure that they did not know growing up. 

What a blessing it will be to Swaziland when they return home with the strength they have acquired while serving the Lord on their Missions.  “The future looks bright for Swaziland,” says President Von Stetten.  “Upon the return of these Elders and Sisters, they will add great strength to the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints, to their community, and to their families.” 

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