An Apostle Blessed Our Home

An Apostle Blessed Our Home

As members of the Church, we are sometimes asked to accomplish tasks that seem impossibly difficult. Whether it be a keeping a commandment such as tithing or fulfilling a calling that we don’t feel prepared for, we feel stretched beyond our capacities. It is then that we discover the sustaining blessings that come from the Savior.  As a result of our efforts, not only are we blessed, but our children and communities are also blessed.

In February of 1990, Elder Neal A. Maxwell was sent to Africa to dedicate Swaziland for the preaching of the gospel. Thoko Shongwe was one of the early members of the Church in that country, and she and her new husband were able to attend the dedication. Much to her surprise and dismay, Elder Maxwell asked if he could have lunch at her home after the dedication.

Sister Shongwe remembers, “We didn’t have good houses in Swaziland then. We just had two small rooms because we had just been married a short time. We didn’t think we could take an important man to our house, and besides, we didn’t have any food for him. But he insisted that he wanted to have lunch in our house.”

In desperation, Sister Shongwe called members of the community to help, and in answer to her prayers, people offered to help provide and prepare the lunch. One member, who was serving at an embassy, was able to bring enough food for the group, and neighbors offered to organize and serve the meal.

After a successful lunch, Elder Maxwell offered to bless the Shongwe home.  It was after that blessing that Sister Shongwe realized the impact of having an Apostle bless her home. “My great experience is that from then on, whenever there was a heavy wind, all the houses next to us had their roofs blown off, but not that house, not even once, until we replaced the home. That shows that having an Apostle enter into our home made the home strong. At the time, we had only two children, but from that time until today, we have been able to care for twenty to twenty-five needy children.”

In 1995, when Brother Shongwe lost his job, the family was caring for twenty children. With the work Sister Shongwe could find, they were barely able to feed their large family. But when school fees became due, Sister Shongwe was overwhelmed. After praying for help, she went to talk to the school officials. Realizing the good she was trying to do, the headmaster agreed to allow the children to attend, saying, “Just pay when you can.” Then Sister Shongwe went into town to find additional help. There she met a new member of the church who offered to pay for an examination fee that was due that day. In Sister Shongwe’s words, “God can bring someone to help you.” With His help, she was able to keep the children fed and in school until her husband found work again. “Our family has been blessed,” she testifies.

The Shongwes feel that having an Apostle bless their home has strengthened them as they work to serve the Church, their family, and their community. And they continue to feel the blessings of the Lord as they attempt to accomplish the difficult tasks that He requires of them.