Libuletswe Gofrey Mokgatle—Gauteng, South Africa

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“Libuletswe Gofrey Mokgatle—Gauteng, South Africa,” Ensign, September 2018

Portraits of Faith

Libuletswe Gofrey Mokgatle—Gauteng, South Africa

Libuletswe lost his sight when he was 21. He relearned many things, but he never learned Braille. He wanted to read the scriptures, so he prayed to God for help.

Cody Bell, photographer

South Africa: Family Life

In 1991, I really felt like serving the Lord, but I didn’t know how I would serve. I prayed about it and thought of joining a born-again church. As I was thinking that this was the right path, two young guys with white shirts knocked on my door.

My wife answered the door and told me that she thought they were students, but they introduced themselves as missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They wanted to share some gospel with me. I accepted.

The missionaries had a discussion with me and my family, and then they left the Book of Mormon with us and said that we should read from it. I told them that my family would need to read it to me because I’m blind. We made another appointment with the missionaries.

When they came back, I said, “My family hasn’t read the Book of Mormon to me yet. They are busy, and they don’t have time for me.”

The missionaries then told me that the Church made audio cassettes of the Book of Mormon. They asked if I would listen to them if they brought them to me. I agreed to do that. The next time, they came with a box of the Book of Mormon on audio cassettes and gave it to me. I thought I had to pay for them, but they gave it freely to me.

I started listening to the cassettes, and I enjoyed them. The next time the missionaries came to my house, this other guy was with them. He had come from a neighboring town to visit his family. He was a member of the Church, and he persuaded me to go to church with him on Sunday.

The first Sunday I heard the gospel like I had never heard it before. This was not a church that you find many people in, but I felt something. I found that the hymns of the Church are different from all the hymns I listened to from other churches. Something kept telling me that I should continue to go to church.

I went to church for quite a time, and eventually I was baptized. A short time later, I was called to be the second counselor in the Sunday School presidency. After my call, a high councilor gave me a handbook. I told him that I was blind and could not see to read. He said that I could take this handbook and ask someone to read it for me. “Then you’ll know your responsibilities as second counselor in the Sunday School,” he said.

I looked for someone to read it for me. One of the missionaries agreed to read the manual for me and record it. As I listened to his recording, I began to understand my responsibilities. I continued serving there for quite a time.

Then I was called to be the second counselor in the elders quorum. Even there I had a manual, but I couldn’t use it. All the Church members had manuals they could use, and I wondered if it would be a heavy burden for me to depend upon other people to always read for me and record it. I started praying and asking my Father in Heaven to help me find something I could use to better understand the gospel. While praying, I felt the Spirit say to me that if I have faith, I can even move mountains.

During a home teaching visit, I told the sister we visited, “I cannot read the scriptures because I cannot see. I want to go to a school where I can learn how to read and write Braille.”

Her brother worked at a school for the blind. He helped me apply. I studied Braille every day. I even woke up at night to practice reading Braille. It took me only four months to be able to read it.

I finished school and told my branch president that I could now read Braille. He gave me a box with a manual for the priesthood and all the scriptures in Braille. I never knew that the Church had those things. It was then that I started really understanding and enjoying the gospel.

I have been called in the bishopric, and I’ve been serving in that calling for I think about 10 years. I can now stand in front of other people and teach by the Spirit. Because reading Braille in the lesson would take a lot of time, I practice and I learn the lesson at home so I can teach without a manual in front of me.

I know that the scriptures are true. I learn from them every time I read them. There is always something that I gain from them.

I love following the truths I learn from the scriptures. For instance, “If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you shall have eternal life” (D&C 14:7).

South Africa: Family Life

Siphiwe Ndou (left), a returned missionary, visits with Libuletswe during a ward family home evening.

South Africa: Family Life

Learning to read Braille has opened many opportunities for Libuletswe. The most important to him has been his opportunity to study the gospel.

South Africa: Family Life

Naledi Modige (middle), a fellow ward member, laughs with Libuletswe and his wife, Makhosazana (far left), during family home evening. The Mokgatles love to have people in their home.

South Africa: Family Life

Libuletswe and Makhosazana rent out several rooms in their home. They enjoy the chances they have to talk with their tenants.