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Botswana stake first for the country

Faithful members celebrate Church growth in African nation

GABORONE, BOTSWANA

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.

President Clement M. Matswagothata, president of the first stake in Botswana. The Gaborone Botswana Stake the first in Botswana was created on Nov. 4, 2012, by Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Seventy.
President Clement M. Matswagothata, president of the first stake in Botswana. The Gaborone Botswana Stake the first in Botswana was created on Nov. 4, 2012, by Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Seventy. Photo: Photo by Ruth L. Renlund

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.

Church members in Gaborne, Botswana, gather for the long-anticipated event of the creation of the Gaborone Botswana Stake -- the first in Botswana -- on Nov. 4, by Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Seventy and Africa Southeast Area president.
Church members in Gaborne, Botswana, gather for the long-anticipated event of the creation of the Gaborone Botswana Stake -- the first in Botswana -- on Nov. 4, by Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Seventy and Africa Southeast Area president. Photo: Photo by Ruth L. Renlund

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.

Left to right: Elder Dale G. Renlund, President Geoffrey Tembo, President Clement Matswagothata, President O. Shaka Mokweni, and Colin H. Bricknell. The Gaborone Botswana Stake the first in Botswana was created on Nov. 4, 2012, by Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Seventy.
Left to right: Elder Dale G. Renlund, President Geoffrey Tembo, President Clement Matswagothata, President O. Shaka Mokweni, and Colin H. Bricknell. The Gaborone Botswana Stake the first in Botswana was created on Nov. 4, 2012, by Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Seventy. Photo: Photo by Ruth L. Renlund

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."

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