First meetinghouse in Swaziland

The first LDS meetinghouse in the mountain kingdom of Swaziland in southern Africa was dedicated July 18 in the capital city of Mbabane.

More than 450 Church members and friends, along with representatives of Swaziland's government and other special guests, attended the ceremony. On July 17, members and guests toured the new building during an open house, which was preceded by a ribbon-cutting ceremony.Elder Richard P. Lindsay of the Seventy and president of the Africa Area presided over the dedicatory events. In the prayer of dedication, he asked that the building would be "used as an instrument of peace in this great land. May it be a symbol of thy love for all thy children. . . . May its doors always be open to those who humbly seek the riches of the gospel of thy wondrous Son, for we know that He `inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female.' (2 Ne 26:33.) May all who worship thee herein be touched by the spirit of true brotherhood and sisterhood, and through that spirit may they come to better know thee and thy son, Jesus Christ."

Elder George Barrus and Sister Merlynn Barrus, Church public affairs representatives in Africa, reported: "Many tears of joy were openly shed by humble members who had prayed for this day in which they would have a building designed and dedicated to the worship and teaching of the principles of the gospel. They were reminded by Mbabane Swaziland District Pres. Jerome Shongwe that many Church members throughout the world contributed their tithes to assist in the construction of this beautiful chapel, situated on a pleasant tree-covered hillside overlooking the city."

The little kingdom of Swaziland was dedicated for the preaching of the gospel Feb. 21, 1990, by Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Council of the Twelve, who then said, "In the rhythm of the restoration, the time has come for the fulness of the gospel to come to this good land and to this good people." In the prayer to dedicate the kingdom for the preaching of the gospel, Elder Maxwell asked that there would be peace within the nation's borders and that the Book of Mormon would "touch the hearts and minds of hundreds in Swaziland who will know that it is another testament of Jesus Christ."

At the time Elder Maxwell dedicated the land, there were 115 Swazi members in a single branch. Two and a half years later, when the first meetinghouse in the land was dedicated, there are more than 650 members in five branches. Two Mbabane branches will meet in the new building. Other branches have been established in Ezulwini, Manzini and Nhlangano.

An official representative of the Prime Minister's office, Sicelo Dlamini, accepted a leather bound copy of the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price. The gift was to be presented later to Swaziland's King Mswati III.

"It was a day of great joy and spiritual feasting as we noted the spiritual progress made by the Church in this portion of the Lord's vineyard," Elder Lindsay said of the dedicatory events. "We recognized His hand over the affairs of this beautiful land."

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