How one Ethiopian couple found each other and the Church, becoming modern-day pioneers

Rochelle Sellers sat in the Tokyo Japan Temple, slowly rocking a baby dressed all in white. In a room nearby, the baby’s parents were receiving their temple endowments. Neither Rochelle nor the baby’s parents were from Japan, but God’s plan had somehow brought them together in that place. Soon the family would be sealed for time and eternity. As Rochelle rocked and looked down at the baby in her arms, she had an overwhelming spiritual impression that said, “This little girl is going to do great things for her people.”

Just one day later, the family would return to Ethiopia, more than 6,000 miles from where they knelt to be sealed in Japan. When they landed, the mother, Betelhem (Betty) Zermariam, was quickly called to be the branch’s Relief Society president, marking the beginning of the family’s lives as modern-day pioneers for the Church in their country. 

That sacred day in Tokyo was over 20 years ago, and Rochelle’s impression has materialized in more ways than perhaps anyone imagined — but not just through the work of the baby girl. Betty and her husband, Woudneh Redahegn, have strengthened the Ethiopian Saints both temporally and spiritually in many ways.

So how did two people from Ethiopia meet in Japan, join the Church, connect with and befriend Rochelle, and become spiritual, cultural and temporal ambassadors for their country? Perhaps Betty offers the best explanation: “God’s hand is in it.”

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