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Monday, November 29, 2010

King Bentomin: "Most of the world will never hear of Lucas Bento"

The Church will officially launch its new web site replacing the old lds.org with the beta site many of us have been exploring. A short time ago they launched the new "Church News and Events" site instructing us to update our RSS feeds:
The Church News and Events page (news.lds.org) makes it easy to find official news of the Church online. Along with providing original content, Church News and Events brings together headlines from each of the Church's official news sources, including Public Affairs, Church magazines, Mormon Channel, and Church News. Church News and Events can already be found at news.lds.org and can be subscribed to via an RSS feed. The current Around the Church site on LDS.org and associated e-mail and RSS feed will no longer be updated beginning November 30, 2010, when LDS.org is replaced by the current beta site.
Sometimes the most interesting articles are the ones most deeply buried. I found a little gem entitled, "The Impact of One Righteous Man" by Stephen and Susan Harms and Torey Ellis from a link on the new Church News and Events Site. It directs to the web site for the Zambia country site in the Southeast Africa Area. A link for the full article can be found under, "Building the Kingdom One Brick at a Time" with the following summary.
Lucas Bento found the Church when he had to leave his native country of Mozambique to get medical treatment in Portugal. After his recovery, he returned to his isolated village in Mozambique and taught the gospel to his family and other villagers. When the missionaries came to Luaha two years after Lucas’s baptism, 18 members of Lucas’s family were ready for baptism.
From the full article we learn how Lucas got his nickname as "King Bentomin":
The Nampula missionaries who travel out to his village once every six-weeks have lovingly dubbed him “King Bentomin.” They recognize in him many of the qualities that made King Benjamin a great leader. Brother Bento, who is now 72, is looked upon as the spiritual leader in his village and has tirelessly worked to ensure that all his extended family has access to the blessings of the gospel in spite of a multitude of obstacles that would have discouraged most people. Over the years, this Melchizedek Priesthood holder, living out in the jungle of Africa, continued to plead with mission presidents to send missionaries to teach him and his family the restored gospel. He wrote letters. He spent precious money for transportation to Nampula to visit with the leaders of the newly formed branch there. Due to his years of patient persistence and prayers an officially recognized group of the Church was formed there on August 28, 2010.
Would that all our converts had this man's persistence and fortitude. He built his own, state of the art, chapel for his new found faith in a remote part of Mozambique in the Mozambique Maputo Mission. The article and pictures of this remarkable achievement appear to have been taken by missionaries there. King Bentomin has been too busy building the kingdom to engage in his own self-promotion.
And what does Lucas Bento a.k.a. “King Bentomin” have to say about these events? He humbly states, “I have waited for this day for a long time. It has been my life’s work to prepare and teach my family. Today I am very happy.” This echoes King Benjamin, “I spent my days in your service, I do not desire to boast, for I have only been in the service of God.” (Mosiah 2:16)
Since his remote village has no electricity, no running water and no access except by barely navigable road after four hours of travel, Lucas Bento probably won't be doing many interviews or photo ops. But, we can still admire him from afar and implement the lessons the article tells us we should learn from his story:
1. One person standing true to the gospel in spite of difficult or isolated circumstances can make a difference. One can be true to gospel principles even when far away from centers of Church population.
2. In times when we feel helpless, overlooked, unimportant, or impatient about our current situation, we can always work toward our goals.
3. When we are truly converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we will also be converted to looking after the welfare and well-being of our families, oftentimes putting aside our own passions, interests, and desires in their best eternal interests.
4. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not the same as the organization of the Church.
That last point looks like it could be good for a series of postings. I'll have to keep it in mind. . .

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