Dear President Albright,
I wanted to tell you of a miracle that happened whilst I was temporarily assigned to the Mission. My companions were Elders Abplanalp, from , and Elder Crain, from . On this particular day, Elder Abplanalp and I were out and about, trying to see if there were any less actives we could share a quick message with, or do some type of re-activation work, as investigators are pretty hard to come by in the area.
We headed to a little house on the corner of the street. Our ward directory map told us that a man named Delbert lived there, and that he was not a member of the Church. We knocked on the door and we were greeted by an old man, probably in his mid 80s. Stooped with age, and very tiny. He invited us in his warm and humble home. As we sat down and started talking we came to find out that Delbert had been excommunicated from the Church about 40 years ago. He recounted his story in tears, and soon we were in tears also. He also spoke of his deceased wife, and how he longed to be sealed to her before he departs this world, but he had lost all hope, as his case needed to be cleared by the First Presidency, and that might take a couple of years.
I was fresh out the MTC and I couldn’t have told you what was up and what was down. As we sat there and listened to this man, I just felt a love for him that I couldn’t explain. I mentioned this to him and he just about grabbed both of us by the lapels and told us that we should never ever lose our testimonies- no matter what happens in the course of our lives. He said he had seen many missionaries come and go, but he wanted us to promise him, that we would never go astray. We promised him. Then I received a distinct impression to give him a blessing in the name of the Lord and His priesthood, that if he started the necessary process for baptism, he would be sealed to his beloved Edna, who was faithful in the Church for all those many years.
Over the next couple of weeks, under close supervision of the stake president (who lived a few doors down), we taught Delbert as per his request, which was : "to teach (him) the gospel as if he has never heard it before". And we did. We grew to love old Delbert, he reminded us of the old man in the Disney-Pixar movie "Up". and he sure looked like him too! Well, the time soon came that I had to come to the D.C South Mission, and so I walked to his door with a heavy heart. He seemed to know what was going on in my mind and he just gave me a big old hug! At that moment I just couldn’t stop thinking about the tremendous faith and courage it took for him to finally do what everybody in the neighborhood was praying for during the past 40 years. We said our goodbyes and some hours later I arrived in the D.C South Mission.
That was almost 9 months ago now, and I have been keeping in touch with Delbert since then. I send him letters and he tells me what he’s doing. This past week I received a letter from him. He said that he finally took "the big plunge" and was baptized on the 23 October! Both his Bishop and Stake President were amazed that it only took 3 weeks to get approval from President Monson! Best of all was the support from the ward at the baptism. He was only expecting about 15, but there were over 100 people there. He is now looking forward to being sealed to his beloved Edna, just as we had promised him. He has a hard time seeing so he can’t read the Book of Mormon all too well; so somebody got him the tapes and he is listening to them!
He wished us all well in the D.C South Mission and sent his love. Delbert is awesome, and he is a perfect example of the true meaning of repentance, and humbling ourselves and coming unto Christ.
I love this work and this gospel. Its true! The Lord is very concerned about the details, and he knows exactly where and when His missionaries have to be. This is my testimony, in the name of Him who has Redeemed us all, even Jesus Christ. Amen
Elder Sphelele Mngoma