Temple moments: Hymns of rejoicing

Never Chikunguwo and his wife, nicknamed "Ever" Joyce - Shonas from the Mutari region of Zimbabwe, near the border of Mozambique - are converts of less than two years.

After their baptisms in 1991, Brother and Sister Chikunguwo set a goal of sharing the gospel with 100 of their friends and relatives during the first year. They exceeded that goal and saw 149 people join the Church. Many of these were taught and baptized by Elder Ramon and Sister Joyce Duke from Heber City, Utah, who served in the Zimbabwe Harare Mission.The Chikunguwos opened many doors through their singing. Sister Chikunguwo explained that before her husband joined the Church, he had never sung. Now, though, after learning from his wife, he's developed an excellent voice. He sings a song over and over until he has it right. Deep bass tones often reverberate from the 5-foot-2 convert as he works in his garden. Brother and Sister Chikunguwo always sing hymns to those with whom they share the gospel.

In April 1993, an opportunity came for the Chikunguwo family, including their three daughters and a son, ages 10 to 16, to travel to the temple in Johannesburg, South Africa, and be sealed as a family.

They rode a bus about 24 hours to reach the temple. At one point in their journey they missed a connecting bus and had to sleep in a park overnight. One of the family remained awake to guard their luggage. They had little to eat during the trip.

Undaunted, the Chikunguwos were all smiles as they arrived at their cherished destination. Elder George and Sister Merlynn Barrus, from Provo, Utah, met the family and escorted them through the temple. Elder and Sister Duke, who had finished their mission, also accompanied the family as they received their endowments and were sealed.

Afterward, the two missionary couples and the Chikunguwos went to a local restaurant for lunch. As they waited for their food, the Chikunguwos wanted to sing. They sang, We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet.

As they rejoiced naturally in hymns in the little restaurant, the bass and the harmony parts blended in near perfect pitch. Their gratitude and gospel refrains echoed through the restaurant, gratitude that Never Chikunguwo and his `Ever' Joyce and children are now a "forever family."

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