Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Angola have met in borrowed or rented buildings for the past 37 years. But soon they will have their first meetinghouse.
On July 9, ground was broken in the capital city of Luanda for what will become the stake center for the Luanda Angola Stake. The building will be used for Sunday meetings, weekday activities, classes, community service and more for the stake and three wards.
Members of the Church have been living in Angola since 1985. Many had been baptized while living for a short time in France or Portugal, and then returned to Angola.
The Church was officially recognized in Angola in 1992 and the first branch organized in 1996. In 2010, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited and blessed Angola, and eight years later the Luanda Angola Stake was organized.
Today, Angola has over 4,100 members. These Saints have been faithful and consistently praying for a place of their own to worship, reported the Church’s Africa Newsroom.
Bernardo Luzitica, one of the first of a small group of members of the Church in Angola, told Newsroom that the building of the meetinghouse has great meaning for him.
“We should thank Heavenly Father. For a long time, we have waited to have a chapel,” he said. “We should thank Heavenly Father for being the first members and for participating in the first groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of our church.”
Elder Amândio A. Feijó, Area Seventy, presided at the groundbreaking. He was joined by his wife, Sister Dionysia Feijó; Luanda Angola Stake President Nuno A. Campos; and Angola Luanda Mission leaders, President Scott O. Sykes and Sister Jennifer Sykes.
The building was first announced in 2016, but challenges with permitting and meeting local building codes delayed the construction.
Construction manager Vusi Msiza said he felt the excitement and anticipation of the members in Angola.
“Without the Lord’s intervention, we would not be where we are at today. Without the prayers of Church leaders and members in Angola, this building would not have been built,” Msiza said.
President Campos said the groundbreaking is “marking the historical framework of the Church in Angola. … It is a symbol of the progress of the Church here in Angola. It represents something strong, very spiritual and something very important to the members here.”
Elder Feijó said: “We also have doors open to the community. All the people here can join us and worship, get to know God and teach each other words of wisdom and render service in every way necessary, both spiritually and temporally.”
Construction is expected to be completed in July 2023.
Correction: A previous headline identified Angola as part of Central Africa. It is in the Church’s South Africa Area.