I met Mary in the summer of 2012. She found me on the Internet. She had been reading my writings about the gospel and received a testimony of the Church, which she knew nothing about.
Mary lives in Embu, Kenya, about eighty miles north of Nairobi, the capital city. She is trying to lift and minister to a group of 89 faithful people, who have been searching and praying to find the true church. They meet every Sunday to worship and serve each other. We could learn some valuable lessons about being Saints from Mary and the Embu “congregation.” In addition to worshipping on Sundays, they meet during the week to take care of the widows and orphans. They minister to the poor, despite the fact that they are poor. They sing and teach about Jesus, who is the center of their lives.
But because the closest branches of the Church are in Nairobi they cannot receive the gospel blessings at this time. Eighty miles is a formidable distance in a land where most transportation is on foot. So Mary and her little group remain faithful and wait until the Church is able to expand toward Embu. The entire group of 89 faithful is ready for baptism the moment the gospel blessings are available in northern Kenya.
In 2012, I introduced Mary to the Sister missionaries of the Salt Lake City Temple Square Mission, and they have taught Mary over the last couple of years. The elders from the mission in Nairobi have visited Mary and her group of faithful twice. They gave Mary copies of the Book of Mormon, Sunday School manuals and hymnbooks – treasures to these humble people. I have tried to do my part by writing to Mary weekly, sending her talks from General Authorities and teachings from Preach My Gospel. Mary prints copies of the articles and gives them to the people in the group. These teachings often become the text for their Sunday services.
Mary is a missionary through and through. In addition to taking care of widows, orphans and the poor, she walks from village to village, talking about Jesus and the Book of Mormon. Sometimes, she is able to gather a little money for bus fare to travel to Nairobi, where she visits the missionaries and goes to the hospital to comfort patients.
My wife, Buffie, and I have tried to help this struggling group. Their only connection to the missionaries and the Church is by computer and cell phone. When Mary was hit by a car and broke her cell phone, we raised some money to buy a new one. When her antiquated computer died, we raised money for a new computer with Skype capability. We raised money to buy a printer so Mary could print the missionaries’ lessons. When an orphan came up short for college tuition money, we raised money to help with his education.
Recently, I emailed Mary and this group of 89 faithful followers of Christ a Christmas message by President Uchtdorf: “Fill the World with Christ’s Love.” The article started a dialogue that is resulting in a miracle. Here is her note to me:
Wow! Thank you, Larry. This is a very good morning for me, my family and congregation. We are preparing to go to church. I have a testimony to share with you later in the day. Brother Larry, God is real and very practical in our lives if we involve Jesus in everything we do – if we walk with him. He is wonderful.
I wondered what testimony Mary had to share with me. She did not write back that night, but within a couple of days, I received the following email that was addressed to my wife and me:
Dear Brother Larry and my Sister Buffie,
I have to share with you my testimony. I have been following the teachings of the missionaries and praying very much for three weeks. I read in the book of Luke that nothing is impossible with our God.
When I had visited Nairobi, I shared the 4th chapter of 2 Nephi with a patient in the hospital. These words touched both of us. He asked me for my cell phone number, which I gave. A few days ago, he sent me bus fare because his family and him wanted me to give them the word of God. I stayed in Nairobi for five days. His whole family and a few friends committed their lives to Jesus.
I left all of my ten copies of the Book of Mormon. I photocopied songs and many articles from your previous teachings. The man and his family are so very far away in a place known as Bomet. I am so humbled. Keep praying for us to receive the gospel. I would love to send these people with teachings from the missionaries, but the ink in my printer got finished and I have no more paper.
You sent me a teaching by President Uchtdorf about filling the world with the love of Jesus. Yes, it is the right thing to be done. If I have nothing to give, I can offer a song and a prayer. I will do this in Jesus name.
I have a prayer request because I have too much walking between villages. I would love to buy a motor bike and reach people and share the love of Jesus. Pray for a miracle to happen in Jesus name.
The car accident left Mary a little impaired. She continues to walk from village to village and minister to the people, but she is getting older, and the effort is a struggle. To continue her work, she wants to purchase a small scooter.
Over the next few days, Mary continued to pray for a miracle. Then she wrote me this email:
I am thinking about Christmas. All the youths in our congregation went out to share the love of Jesus Christ with street children. We carried a lot of ripe bananas to share with them. We sang songs and shared the word of God with them.
Larry, I had an idea about a motor bike miracle. After praying very much, I thought, if God would bless me with an incubator, it could help every member of our congregation to have fifty chickens. Me too will have some chicks to sell after hatching. I will get some money to buy a motor bike. I think this wanna be a good miracle to pray for. What do you think about it?
Buffie and I wired some money for half the cost of the incubator. Here was Mary’s response:
Wow! Here is a song we sing: I love Jesus, Jesus, Jesus in the morning, Jesus at noon time, Jesus when the sun goes down.
We are singing with tears of joy dropping down from our eyes. We are fellowshipping in our chairman’s house and I have shared your email with everyone. We are happy. I have called a friend and she has told me that the incubator is costing $400. It can incubate 96 eggs.
God is so good, so awesome. This is a true gift to us all. Let me tell you Larry and my sister Buffie, this will change our lives. I will make sure that each sister and brother will have ten hens. I will remain faithful to God. I have a question – does our Heavenly Father still send angels in the form of real people these days?
Answer me please.
Her question is not just a compliment. She really wants to understand everything about the gospel. My wife and I didn’t tell her that we were the ones who had sent the money. She just knows that God loves her and has heard her prayer.
I told some friends about Mary. I told them that she has no ink or paper to print more teachings from the missionaries and General Authorities. I told them that she has given away all her copies of the Book of Mormon and needs more. I told them about her needing a miracle to buy a simple scooter to go from village to village to minister to widows, orphans and the poor and to teach them the gospel. My friend, who has been a widow for fifty years, gave $100 for “Mary’s Miracle.” Mary was overwhelmed by the love shown by a stranger.
This is wonderful! This is the true gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Surely there are no mountains that the Lord cannot help you to climb. He can turn all impossibilities into possibilities! Please tell that generous woman thank you for the $100. We are very happy. The incubator will be a special gift to us all. If we now have $300, I am sure God will give the remaining $100. We are thanking our Heavenly Father for all of you. Dear Brother Larry and Sister Buffie, our lives will change and many will see true love of the gospel.
Mary asked if Heavenly Father sends angels in the form of real people. Of course He does. Would you like to be one of those angels? Here’s how you can help.
Gospel Ideals International is a non-profit foundation that can receive donations. If you would like to make a tax-deductible, charitable donation, please click here: http://www.gospelideals.org/donation. Your donation will help people, like Mary, to buy
incubators, chickens, ink and paper, copies of the Book of Mormon, and maybe even a motor bike!