Monday, December 5, 2011

Latter-day Saint Women Around the World: Filicity from Cape Province, South Africa

Today's guest post is from Filicity, from South Africa. My sister-in-law who served a mission in Botswana met Filicity at the Johannesburg, South Africa Temple. This is what my sister-in-law said about her: "I actually just met her when we were at the temple one day since she is a temple worker there. She was excited to see the sisters, and she is such a cheerful and optimistic person. About a month or so after meeting her in passing, all the sisters got a little letter from her along with a picture of the Johannesburg temple and a copy of the dedicatory prayer. It meant so much to me to receive that. Filicity has such a strong and powerful spirit that drew me in from those first minutes that I had meeting her." She also told me that she has LOTS of personality!




Hi there. I am Filicity born in Strand, Cape Province in South Africa. I grew up in a troubled environment, both political and emotional.

What is the dominate belief system in your country? Do most people consider themselves to be "religious"?

Somewhat religious to fit their agenda.

Are business and stores closed on Sunday?

No

Do most people attend church?

Yes

2. How long have you been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? Please tell us a about your conversion.

I've been a member for 18 years. I worked as a security guard in a shopping centre. The rules of the centre was that no one is allowed to sell anything inside except those that were there. A couple of times we had to ask Jehovah Witness groups to not sell their Watch Tower there. One particular morning I saw four sisters and I thought they were from that religious group. I asked them what they were doing. They gave me a pamphlet on The Second Coming of the Saviour. I wasn't interested. One of my supervisors was very religious and I gave it to him. He showed no interest in it. I read some of it and tried getting hold of the missionaries. I called around at the same time but couldn't get a hold of them. Three days later a minister walked in and I asked him where I could find these people and the Church. He told me they were of the devil and that I needed to stay away from them. That same morning I called them again and got hold of them. I asked if I could come and see them. We made an appointment for that day. As I walked into their flat I looked for any signs that might portray some devilry signs. I told them about my experience and what was said about them. They just laughed. They shared some of the gospel and gave me a Book of Mormon. When I first held it in my left hand I just knew it was true. It felt physically like a heavy weight I was carrying.

We set up appointments. Because of the political unrest in my area they were not allowed to enter. We met in the flat block's lounge area. That was put to a stop by my management and we met in their flat. I could not get enough of what I was taught. I read with such an enthusiasm. My questions never stopped. The sisters helped feed that hunger for more. Just before I got baptized I got cold feet. The Wednesday before my baptism the sister missionaries wrote me letters. That was so inspired. I will never forget that. I still have their letters. I got baptized in Feb 1993, endowed in 1995, and am still going strong.

3. What is the LDS church attendance like in your area?

Fantastic. Our chapel is full on Sundays

How many stakes, wards, or branches are there in your area?

We have got seven Stakes, Centurion, Bedfordview, Benoni, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Roodepoort, Soweto. In my area there are seven wards.

On an average Sunday how many members attend church?

I think around 75% or more.

Do people have to travel far to attend church?

Some

What are the demographics of your ward? Are most members young, old, married, single, are there more women then men? Or it is it a good balance?

It's a good balance.



4. How far away is the nearest temple?


20 minutes to 45 if you are local.

When was it built?

24 August 1985

How busy is it?

Somewhat

Do most people in your country know about it?

No not really.

What are their feelings about it?

Not so sure

5. What sort of reaction do you get from most people when they find out you are Mormon?

Don't know what it is or prejudiced.

Are people familiar with the church?

Somewhat

Do you often have to defend or explain your beliefs?

Yes

6. How is missionary work in your country?

Amazing. The work is truly moving forward.

Would you say that it is difficult or easy for missionaries to find people to teach?

Some areas is more easier than others.

How often do you have a new baptism?

In my ward, at least three a month.

What are the greatest barriers to missionary work in your country?

Members fear of sharing their beliefs.

7. How many families do you know (LDS or not) who have more than two children? If a family with four children moved to your area, would their family size seem unusual? What about a family with six children?

LOTS!

8. How many sisters do you visit teach? Do you have to travel far to reach them? What have been some of your best visiting teaching experiences?

Six at the moment. Getting to know a sister in her environment has taught me more about her fears and dreams, her hopes and her accomplishments. We met with a young single adult whose mom refused to let her to go to institute. Explaining what we were about made each meeting more spiritual. The mother always makes sure she is there with every visit so she can learn more.

9. What are the greatest challenges the sisters in your Relief Society are facing?

Learning to serve and trust one another.

10. What is the greatest blessing that the gospel of Jesus Christ has brought into your life?

Freedom to live in such a way that I know that my life is not my own. That I am never alone and that I am loved beyond measure. Everyday working in the temple laundry brings teaching and learning moments where I can feel the Saviour's love more. There is just so much to know about ourselves. It is by no coincidence that everything has happened the way it did. The gospel is my way of life. Without it I am NOTHING.

Thank you so much Filicity! Your conversion story is so sweet.

6 comments:

  1. Nice to meet you, Felicity! My older brother served a mission in South Africa in 2001-2003. He loved the people there. It made me think of him to read your interview!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Filicity! And I thought of my grandmother who was born in South Africa. (Her parents were baptized there in 1904, but then they all immigrated to Utah just before World War I.) I imagine things have changed just a bit in 100 years!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Filicity, I enjoyed reading your thoughts. You are an amazing lady!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for sharing your experiences Filicity. I think you are right about member's fear of sharing their testimonies is a barrier to missionary work. I know I can definitely do better about sharing mine.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Loved reading your conversion story! There is a sister in my ward who grew up in South Africa. Her husband served a mission there :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have really enjoyed reading baout sisters throughout the world. It has been so enlightening.
    thanks to all.

    ReplyDelete