When we think of ways to receive revelation, what comes to mind? We might think of inspiration coming to us through prayer to our Heavenly Father, while reading the scriptures, or writing in our journals—and maybe even while we are asleep.
When aspiring filmmaker Tshoper Kabambi was invited to church by a friend, he did not feel the need to attend until he had a dream about the Church. And then he had another dream about baptism. A third dream—a dream about baptism for the dead—was the last straw.
Kabambi knew these dreams were a message from God. They provided Kabambi with direction and gave him “a way to follow.” He was then baptized and became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. Since his conversion, Kabambi has used his film skills to share his testimony. This weekend his film, Heart of Africa, opens in select theaters in the United States.
In this week’s episode, All In host Morgan Jones talks with Kabambi about his unlikely conversion to the gospel, what it means to be a Latter-day Saint in the Congo, and his journey to becoming not only a filmmaker but also a storyteller of the Congolese people.
Read an excerpt from their conversation below or click here to listen to the whole episode. You can also read a full transcript of the podcast here.
The following excerpt has been edited for clarity.
Tshoper Kabambi: Aime Mbuyi was a friend of mine, but I [had] never seen him. He was a Facebook friend. And Aime Mbuyi, when I met him for the first time, he told me, "Tshoper, I really like your short films. I saw on Facebook, one time I was in a screening, and I want to invite you in my church." I was like, "I don't know, because I haven't go in a church since 10 years." I just stopped to going to church.
Morgan Jones: Okay.
TK: And he started to invite me to go in his church. It was a little bit bizarre for me.
MJ: Okay. So did you go to church with him?
TK: When he invited me, it was difficult. I promised him three times that yeah, one Sunday, I will come with you, but I just canceled it, every time I would cancel it. But one time, I got a dream and in my dream I was in LDS church. I had never seen a picture before. I never imagined what it looked like. But I just decided I told my wife today, "I got a dream that I was in an LDS church and never seen that before. But let's go, if we [see] what I saw, if we found what I saw in my dream, yeah, we'll keep going there. Let's start, let's try." And she was "What did you see?" I told her, "I see within the church, everything was calm, was good. And there was a mansion. In my dream, I saw Jesus Christ is the way, the life and the truth, something like that. And some mansions." And I told her if we saw that, we stay in the church and she said, yes, good. And we went. I called Aime Mbuyi, he was surprised that I accepted to, finally accepted to go in the church. It was like, "Are you sure?" I say “Yeah, I'm sure I want to go today and see what, what it looks like.” And then when I was in the church, I didn't see what I saw in my dream right on the wall, but I just feel that. I feel myself home. Because, as I say, it was 10 years that I didn't go to the church. I just stopped it to go to the church for many things. And I was losing my faith. But when I was inside for the first time in the LDS church, I feel like home, I feel I kind of peace in myself. I tell to my wife, "Did you feel what I'm feeling?" She said, "Yes, it's just exactly like what you tell me about a church have to be." Because I was like imagine a kind of church when I was speaking with my wife. I was telling her what I really like to see like [in] a church myself. I was like “A church have to be like this, like this and like this.” I gave my wife some description about a church from my dream. But I had never been in an LDS church but when we were there, she just told me it's like, exactly your description of church, and I can feel what you are feeling now. It's why I decided to, but it was difficult for me to stay for the first time. I was like, "I cannot stay in a church for just a dream. I cannot."
I was praying just to have all the signs and the second sign was another dream. In my dream, I saw my car just going by itself without a driver. And I was running behind my car and crying. And the car goes into the river, inside the water. And I saw one of the brothers. He was not an elder in the church but he's just a brother in the church. I saw him come and take out my car with just one hand and everybody around was like, "Wow, this man he's very strong." And he told me, "You see? Your car is now new." If you have a car, a car is just a carcass. It's just a simple thing. But if you put it in the water and you take it out, that it will be new. Like that, born for the new time, born again. Yeah, something like that. It was a kind of sign also for me for being baptized. ...I was like, "No it's like a dream. It just a dream. I can't believe in the dream." But it was amazing because it was the second time to have this kind of dream.
And the third time, I saw my uncle in my dreams. My uncle died many years ago, he told me, "Tshoper, please, I give you a mission. You have to be baptized for save our lives." I can't understand what that means. And I go to one of the brothers to ask him what this dream means. And he called some elders and him, they explained to me that if you are baptized, you can be baptized for your ancestors. And that means a lot of things for me. It's why I decided to stay in the church.
MJ: That is amazing. Have you always been a dreamer?
TK: I don't know exactly, but if I have some dreams, and I think, dreams always have sense and give us, sometimes, a way to follow. And since I was a child, I, even my mother and my father was asking me a lot what was my dream because they got some direction on my dream. I think, since I was a child. God sent my family and me some message in the dreams.