The Real Elder Price
The Real Elder Price, Part 7: To Boldly Go
President Caillet was going to give Prince a healing blessing, something anyone ordained to the Melchizedek priesthood can do, but had not himself completed the inoculation series. He was forbidden entrance, and so he asked Elder Gates, a senior missionary, and Elder Lisowski to bless Prince.
Elder Lisowski wasn't entirely sure he had been immunized, but entered the hospital on the assumption that he had, and winged with faith that he would be protected regardless. "We had a prayer together outside," he wrote, "then someone unlocked the gate for us, and we walked in. We gave the blessing (Elder Gates anointed, he doesn't speak French yet) and everyone else was across the lawn outside, joining us in prayer."
Henry Lisowski pronounced a healing blessing, telling Prince that angels were surrounding him right then, that he would be healed, and that many would yet hear the gospel proclaimed by his voice.
A couple of hours later, the Branch President called the missionaries, announcing that a miracle had happened. Prince was up and walking, and would soon be released.
|Elders Gates and Lisowski with Prince|
Of course, most endings are not so tidy and sweet.
All of the missionaries in Douala, Cameroon helped teach a particular family, that of David and Fridah, their twin sons, Rodi and Dodi, and the older son, Derrick.
Elders Wigginton and Acorda were the first to contact David. Wigginton describes the scene:
As we leave the dark alley and come into the day's light again, I see a man sitting on a chair emanating that light I saw in my head: a middle-aged man with a sharp haircut and moustache. The gold chain around his neck was glistening in the light. As we talk to him, he welcomes the proposition of a short lesson.
We learn he is a non-practicing Catholic. He has a happy marriage of twenty-six years, ten-year-old twins, and a nineteen-year-old son. He loves his family. Finishing our short lesson, I feel impressed to talk about The Book of Mormon. As I do, his facial expression changes. "The Book of Mormon is a good book?" he asks. He walks into his house and brings out a copy, explaining his friend (a Catholic priest) cleaned out his library and told David he could take any books he wanted. He took this book. He said there was something special about it.
That moment—the clearest spiritual guidance I have had in contacting on this mission—was not only a hope-building experience for me, but a faith-building one for David, an igniting of fuel he thought had burned out in his life.
Our appointments became weekly, and I quickly fell in love with his prodigy twin sons, Rodi and Dodi. Dodi, a brilliantly talented comic book artist, and Rodi, a sensitive poet. Quickly, Rodi and Dodi became the most interested in the Gospel and in attending church. Soon, David and his wife Fridah developed a rotation system in taking the boys to church. They, too, grew to love what was taught and the feelings they had in attending.
I talked about baptism with them before I was transferred to Yaounde. I left with so much love for that family. And as I headed to Yaoundé, I remembered how we met—a day of holiness for me.
|David with twins Rodi and Dodi|
Margaret Blair Young is the president of the Association for Mormon Letters and has published eight books—six novels and two short story collections. Three of the novels were co-authored with Darius Gray and give the history (documented) of Black Latter-day Saints. She and Gray made the documentary Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons, which is currently under contract with the Documentary Channel and showing nationally. She has written six encyclopedia articles and other scholarly papers on Blacks in the western United States, and particularly Black Mormons. She teaches creative writing at Brigham Young University.