A judge, an arrested man and two senior missionaries serving 9,000 miles from home were instrumental in the conversion of Elder Alfred Kyungu, who was sustained in April 2021 general conference as a new General Authority Seventy.
In 1991, a Congolese man was arrested and brought before Judge Polydor Ngoy, Elder Kyungu’s uncle, in Lubumbashi, a city that is now in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In relating the incident to the Church News, Elder Kyungu wasn’t sure what crime the man was accused of committing, but knew of Ngoy’s surprise when a pair of Americans stepped forward to speak on the arrested man’s behalf.
“Please tell me, who are you to be connected with this man?” Ngoy asked. “Introduce yourself.”
The couple explained that they were missionaries from Utah and the man was a member of their congregation and their translator.
That night when Ngoy returned home, he explained to his 24-year-old nephew, university student Alfred Kyungu Kibamba, about an appointment he had with some missionaries who would explain more about their church — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “Don’t miss this good opportunity,” his uncle told him.
Soon both the young Alfred Kyungu and his uncle were meeting regularly with the senior missionaries. They spent six months in deep discussions.
“I had many questions,” Elder Kyungu recalled. As the son of a Christian pastor, Elder Kyungu was a “great reader of the Bible” and already considered himself a Christian. Why, then, did he need to join this new, foreign religion?
The Church was also still relatively new in the country and many in the community were suspicious and wondered if Latter-day Saints were mystics or even truly Christian.
Eventually, Ngoy suggested to his nephew that they couldn’t truly understand everything about the Church from the outside. They decided they needed to get their own experiences, and if they discovered that the Church really was “not about Jesus” then they would leave. Elder Kyungu and his uncle were baptized on Sept. 21, 1991.
“From that time, I’ve never been outside the Church,” Elder Kyungu said with a smile.
The members of their small branch in Lubumbashi were kind and welcoming, and Elder Kyungu and his uncle were fortified by what they were being taught. “We knew we were being taught the principles taught by Jesus Christ.”
Elder Kyungu met Lucie Malale Kabulo through his cousin. This cousin was also a Church member and told Lucie, who was in Lubumbashi studying at the Higher Pedagogical Institute, that he was a Sunday School teacher and invited her to go to church.
She was surprised, she said, that her young friend would be a teacher. In her experience in going to her Christian denomination’s services, only high-ranking priests were teachers. She accepted.
It was the first time she experienced a setting where congregants could ask and respond to questions. She said to herself, “Here I hope I can find answers to my questions.”
The first time she was introduced to the Book of Mormon, even before she read it, she said she could feel it was about the gospel of Jesus Christ. She was baptized on June 18, 1996.
She and Elder Kyungu dated for three years and were married on Nov. 28, 1998, in Lubumbashi. They were sealed in the Johannesburg South Africa Temple on Nov. 18, 2004.
Both he and Sister Kyungu desired to start a family right away but after four years still had no children. “This was very hard for us,” Elder Kyungu recalled. They trusted in the promises of their patriarchal blessings and through their faith and the priesthood were miraculously able to conceive.
Through the years, they have learned that the gospel brings peace, joy and solutions to problems. “Even though we have some problems, we have some challenges, we are going through some trials, from the gospel we know that we can go to Jesus Christ. We have our Heavenly Father, who is there, who loves us and who knows us,” he said.
As Latter-day Saint pioneers of the Church in their families and in their country, the Kyungus have witnessed the tremendous growth of the Church in recent years. When they first joined the Church in Lubumbashi, there was one branch that met in a house for Sunday services. Members would gather in the living room for the sacrament and use the four bedrooms as classrooms.
Today, there are many Church units within Lubumbashi — the second largest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo — and the promise of a temple, which was announced by President Russell M. Nelson in April 2020 general conference.
“It really is growing so fast,” Elder Kyungu said, which he attributed in large part to the example of Church members to their friends, families and neighbors. “When we are living the gospel, the people can see the light, the good behavior, then they want to approach the Church.”
Elder Kyungu received both Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in social sciences and international relations from the University of Lubumbashi. He worked in several positions for the Democratic Republic of the Congo government and for the Church as a coordinator and director for Seminaries and Institutes and as a family history manager.
The Kyungus now have three children: two daughters and a son. Their oldest, 19, received her diploma and loves singing, while their 16-year-old son enjoys playing the guitar and soccer. Their youngest daughter, 12, likes to cook like her mom and is learning to play the violin. As a family they enjoy spending time together, whether it’s cooking, cleaning, watching a movie or playing board games.
The Kyungus have tried to infuse the gospel into their home by reading the Book of Mormon and getting on their knees to have family prayer every day.
One of the big blessings of their lives, Sister Kyungu said, is seeing their teenagers living the gospel.
“Trying to live the gospel in the home, in our life, helps us to be blessed,” Elder Kyungu said, “because without it we don’t know what kind of life we should live.”
An Area Seventy at the time of his call, he has served as an institute teacher, Sunday School teacher, counselor in a bishopric, high councilor, counselor in a stake presidency and president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Mbuji-Mayi Mission from 2016 to 2019.
Sister Kyungu has served as a ward Young Women and Relief Society president, a Primary and Sunday School teacher, and as an ordinance worker in the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple, which was dedicated in 2019.
Sister Kyungu said in each of the many Church positions they have held through the years, they have tried to magnify it with all of their hearts. That kind of consecration has helped them prepare for this new calling, she said.
Elder Kyungu said he hopes he can share three lessons with Church members around the world. First, “when you do your best to keep the Lord’s commandments, all will be fine.”
Second is to rely on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. “Because the Savior is able to help people overcome any challenges, and find peace.”
The third lesson is to follow the Brethren, the living prophet and apostles. “Because their teachings are from God, our Heavenly Father.”
Family: Born in Kamina, Democratic Republic of the Congo, on Oct. 31, 1966, to Domitien Kyungu Nkimba and Celestine Ngoy Mbuyu. Married Lucie Malale Kabulo on Nov. 28, 1998, in Lubumbashi. They were sealed in the Johannesburg South Africa Temple on Nov. 18, 2004. They are the parents of two daughters and one son.
Education: Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in social sciences and international relations from the University of Lubumbashi.
Employment: Worked in several positions for the Democratic Republic of the Congo government and for the Church as a coordinator and director for Seminaries and Institutes and as a family history manager.
Church service: Served as an institute teacher, Sunday School teacher, counselor in a bishopric, high councilor, counselor in a stake presidency, president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Mbuji-Mayi Mission from 2016 to 2019 and as an Area Seventy in the Africa Southeast and Africa Central areas.