“If I agree to leave today on a mission and not attend the wedding of my daughter, the only one I have among all of my children, it is because I know it is the work of our Heavenly Father and that by our missionary service our whole family will be blessed,” testifies Sister Jeanne Kalume Kimbo Ilunga. She and her husband, Elder Fridon Nkulu Kishi Ilunga, departed for the Missionary Training Center in Ghana just six days prior to the marriage of their only daughter, Consolatrice.
Elder and Sister Ilunga are members of the Upemba Ward, Katuba Stake, Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They were called to serve a full-time couple’s mission in the DRC Lubumbashi Mission. Elder and Sister Ilunga have been faithful, dedicated members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for many years. They looked forward to the blessings and challenges of missionary service.
Elder Ilunga feels he and his wife were prepared for this time by the many Church callings they had received through the years. As a member of the High Council, Elder Ilunga was responsible for overseeing and training of the new Branch in Kasumbalesa, 90 kilometers from Lubumbashi. He said that experience would help him to successfully cope with the various tasks assigned to him by his mission president. The Ilungas served in the remote city of Luputa, DRC, working with 10 Elders and the members and leaders of the newly organized Luputa Stake.
Through their proselyting efforts the Ilungas were instrumental in “bringing many souls unto Christ.” They follow in the missionary footsteps of their six children who have completed full-time missions and one son who served a mission at the same time as they did. One of the Ilungas’ greatest joys was receiving the honorable mission release certificates of their children. Release letters from their children’s mission presidents expressed gratitude to the Ilunga parents for preparing their children so well to serve.
Elder and Sister Ilunga desired to complete an honorable, useful mission and be an example of missionary service to their 16 grandchildren. The Illungas’ dedication to the Lord by entering missionary service a mere six days before the wedding of their only daughter is an example of faith and obedience.