Latter-day Saints in Botswana rejoiced as the first stake was created in their country, the Gaborone Botswana Stake. Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Seventy, and president of the Africa Southeast Area, along with Elder Colin H. Bricknell and Elder T. Jackson Mkhabela, both Area Seventies, organized the stake on Nov. 4.
The stake was created with units from the Roodeport South Africa Stake and consists of eight wards or branches. Other boundary changes were also made to the Roodeport South Africa Stake and Soweto South Africa Stake.
President Clement Matswagothata, age 32, was called as the first president of the new stake. Geoffrey Tembo, first counselor and O. Shaka Mokweni, second counselor complete the stake presidency.
More than 1,800 people attended the two Sunday general sessions in which the changes were presented and sustained. Members gathered in Gaborone as well as in Roodeport South Africa.
Elder Renlund reminded the congregation of a special blessing the country received 20 years ago when Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve dedicated Botswana for the preaching of the gospel. In that dedicatory prayer, Elder Scott blessed the Saints, present and future, that as they kept the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ, they would have a leavening influence on all the people of Botswana.
Elder Renlund remarked, "If you want to be a true Botswana patriot, keep the commandments of God." He further observed, "The organization of this stake is evidence of that blessing. Scattered Israel is being gathered."