‘Determined to keep covenants’

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania — After a 68-hour bus trip to the Johannesburg South Africa Temple, members of the Church in Tanzania are more "determined to keep the covenants we have made in the temple and are more determined to live the gospel."

This was the sentiment of one member, representing those from the Kinondoni, Ubungo and Chang'ombe branches who made the trip in March from Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, to Johannesburg, South Africa, according to Elder Gerald W. Jensen, a public affairs missionary serving in the Africa Southeast Area.

"All of the participants felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude at the wonderful opportunity that was provided them to receive the blessings of the Temple," he wrote to the Church News.

The trip, which began at 2 a.m. on March 16 and ended sometime early March 27, had been in planning since July 2001, when Elder Kenneth Foster and Sister Nelda Foster, Church Educational system missionaries, realized that going to the temple was an unfulfilled dream of many members in Dar es Salaam. Only six members in all of Tanzania had previously been endowed and attended the temple.

Under the direction of Elder Robert C. Oaks of the Seventy and president of the Africa Southeast Area, Elder and Sister Foster helped plan the trip and taught temple preparation courses to members desiring to make the journey.

In addition, members worked to obtain their family histories. Many journeys were made to rural areas to visit their tribes to speak to relatives and village elders to get this information. Many of the histories are kept by word of mouth, so it was difficult to get accurate information.

During the trip, members traveled hundreds of miles through countries in political unrest. Finally, the bus neared the Johannesburg Temple, and the members shouted for joy when they saw the statue of the Angel Moroni on the edifice's spire. During their temple sessions, 27 members received the own endowments, 10 couples were sealed as husband and wife for time and all eternity, and 10 families were sealed together. For the dead, 167 baptisms and confirmations were performed, along with 175 endowments, 47 sealings of spouses and 54 sealings to parents.