Man with a mission shared faith among friends, neighbors

MARROMEU, Mozambique — Since his baptism in 1995, Francisco Dique Sousa has walked or ridden his bicycle in the village of Marromeu and throughout surrounding communities, teaching the gospel to friends and others. In addition to petitioning Church leaders for copies of the Book of Mormon and other Church literature in Portuguese — the main spoken language here — he persisted in asking for missionaries to teach and baptize those with whom he had shared his testimony.

In May of this year, missionaries of the South Africa Johannesburg Mission began visiting Marromeu, teaching and baptizing, and on Oct. 21, 2000, President Dique Sousa was sustained as the first president of the Marromeu Branch. Presiding over and creating the branch was Elder Ray H. Wood of the Seventy and president of the Africa Southeast Area. He was accompanied by his counselor, Elder Robert C. Oaks, also of the Seventy, and South Africa Johannesburg Mission President Roger DeMordaunt.

Correspondence sent to the Church News from the Africa Southeast Area Office explained: "The story behind the establishment of the Church in Marromeu is remarkable and testifies of the influence of one faithful, converted member who desired to share the truth with others."

President Dique Sousa was born in and has lived his life in this isolated town on the south banks of the Zambezi River. It takes at least nine hours to reach Marromeu by four-wheel drive over tortuous roads from Beira, Mozambique's second largest city.

Early in the 1990s, President Dique Sousa learned of the restored gospel from his then-prospective son-in-law, Chico Mapenda. Brother Mapenda was baptized in East Germany. After returning home and while on temporary work assignment in Marromeu, he met and later married one of the President Dique Sousa's nine daughters. "Few people in modern times have shown greater interest in sharing the gospel than Francisco Dique Sousa," the area correspondence continued. "Once this mild-mannered man of slight physical stature knew that the heavens had again been opened, nothing has been able to contain him from sharing the good news with his neighbors and friends. With the help of all who would listen, he has prepared hundreds for baptism and helped build a number of small adobe, straw-thatched meetinghouses."

Serving with President Dique Sousa as his counselors are Antonio Tenefala Chite and Antonio Fundisse Chitote. Prior to the branch's creation, Elder Ray Caldwell, second counselor in the mission presidency to President DeMordaunt, traveled to Marromeu to extend the calls to the brethren.

During the meeting creating the branch, the congregation voted unanimously to donate their humble chapel, built with voluntary hands, to the Lord, and it was dedicated as a house of worship. The adobe chapel probably ranks among the more modest in the Church, but, according to the correspondence, the heart-felt hymns, prayers and testimonies of the saints gathered here expressed a remarkable spirit of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, a belief in the restoration of His gospel, and hope for a brighter future.

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