Thursday, March 16, 2017

Our Beloved Francis

Waila Francis

Tonight I want to write about our dear friend Francis.  Francis is small in stature (110 lbs) but a giant in his testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ and His Gospel.  He has been a member of the church for about four years.  The missionaries found him when he was still in Senior School.  They introduced him to the Book of Mormon and once he read that....there was no going back.  He had a lot of questions and the missionaries answered them one by one.  They encouraged him to pray to find his answer.

And he did.

In the beginning he was persecuted by his own parents and they sent him away because he wanted to become a member of the Church.  Through time their hearts softened and Francis was able to teach them and bring them to the Gospel.  There is so much more of this story to tell....but not tonight.  

Tonight I wanted to tell something else.

Francis has been staying with us this week in Kampala.  He came with us last Sunday to be working on his Medical Papers for his mission.  Today was his last appointment and he knew that he was going back to Mbale....without us.  He said to Elder Phelps this morning, "Before we leave this morning can I give a spiritual thought."  Elder Phelps said, "Sure" and after our family prayer we sat and listened to Francis speak.

He started out by telling us of his grandparents on his mother's side.  He loves his grandparents so much.  His three last living grandparents (including both on his mother's side) have passed away during the time we have been here:(  He told of how when he was young he was able to go and spend time with his mother's parents when he was out of school.  He said that they had many cows, goats, and chickens.  In the year 2002, when Francis was about 7 or 8 his grandparents decided to serve as couple missionaries for the Anglican Church.  Francis wondered why they would want to leave everything they had to serve a mission.  His Grandparents set off on a four year mission to Ghana.  After two years they were in a serious accident and his grandmother lost part of her leg.  They needed to come home early because of it.

Francis said "My grandparents were wonderful people.  They always taught me good things.  One day my Grandy (Grandpa) said,  'We (your grandparents) may not see all of the blessings that will come from our serving this mission, but you (our grandchildren) will see blessings from our service.  Someday others will come and bless your life as we have tried to bless others' lives.  They will come and serve you and teach you.'

At this point Francis was looking at me and he said "And they did."  I couldn't stop the tears from falling.

He then said, "I know of myself that your children and grandchildren will be blessed because of the sacrifice that you have made to come to be with us and teach us.  I know that others will come and bless your grandchildren as you have blessed us.  I know that as we sacrifice and leave our families to go teach the Gospel to others then we will be blessed and our children and grandchildren will be blessed also."

At this point he started weeping.  He said, "I know that the Gospel is true.  I know that the Prophet Joseph Smith was a true prophet.  I know that the Restoration is true.  I know that President Monson is the prophet of God today."  We were all weeping at this point.

This was pure and simple testimony.
It was completely from his heart.

Elder Phelps and I have sat and listened to Francis teach the Gospel now for five months.  He has been a wonderful companion and teacher from the very beginning.   He always bears a strong testimony of what he is teaching.

This morning though..... was very special.  He was bearing his testimony not for an investigator or someone in a lesson.  It was for us.  Just for Elder Phelps and me.  It was such a special moment.  I will never forget his simple but heartfelt testimony.  Ever.

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