In 1988 Filipe S. Zavale left his home in the southeastern African nation of Mozambique to seek education and work opportunities in what was then the German Democratic Republic. While in a store, he met two missionaries who asked him if he had ever heard of Jesus Christ. He said that he had heard of Him but that he didn’t really know who He was. In fact, he didn’t really believe in God. The missionaries gave him a German Book of Mormon and asked him to read from it and to pray about it. Then, because Filipe had never seen anyone pray before, they explained how.
After their visit Filipe read and prayed as they had suggested. “A marvelous feeling of peace entered into my heart,” he remembered. At the same time he wondered, “What is this?”
When the missionaries visited him again, they explained that the peace he felt was the answer to his prayer. “I knew then that the book was from God. Still, I was hesitant about being baptized because I feared my father might no longer accept me as his son.” However, Filipe kept attending Church and learning more about the gospel.
In 1991, when his work contract in Germany expired, Filipe returned home to Mozambique. The country was at war, and the Church was not yet established there. Felipe remembers, “Still, I was happy in the hope that one day the Church would come to my homeland and I could be baptized.Whenever anyone would invite me to attend a church, I would tell them I already had one.”
“Which one?” they would ask.
“It doesn’t exist here,” I would answer. “But it will come.”
Of that much he was certain. It was eight years before Filipe found the Church again, but during all that time, he had a guide. He explains, “When I left Germany, the branch president there subscribed to the Liahona magazine in Portuguese for me. Each month for eight years the Liahona came to me, and each month it encouraged me and gave me hope. Whenever I read it, I felt as if I were with other Latter-day Saints. The magazine oriented me, filled me with great emotion, brought humble words to my mind, and fed my spirit. Often in the 'Questions and Answers' section, I found answers to my own questions. For eight years, the Liahona guided me.”
Then one day in 1999, full-time missionaries walked into the post office where Filipe’s brother worked—the same post office where his copies of the Liahona had been delivered.
Felipe recalls, “When my brother saw Elder Patrick Tedjamulia’s name tag, he recognized the name of the Church from my magazines and asked the elder who he was. My brother then explained that he had a family member in the same Church, and Elder Tedjamulia asked to meet me.
“When my brother told me about meeting the missionaries, I was amazed. Could it really be that the Church was here in Mozambique?”
Filipe soon learned that the Mozambican government had recognized the Church way back in 1996. He says, “It was marvelous to meet with the elders again. I remembered the things the missionaries had taught me in Germany, and I felt that same peace come into my heart.”
In January 2000 Filipe was finally baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He testifies, “I feel the Lord’s Spirit in all the work of the Church. How grateful I am for the Liahona. I am thankful that Heavenly Father provided a guide for me, so I could continue to believe and to have hope until I could find His Church again.”
Excerpted by Marnae Wilson from “The Liahona was my Guide,” Filipe S. Zavale, Ensign, October 2002