Lining up in their school uniforms, children held large pieces of paper giving thanks in French, Kikongo, Lingala, Swahili and Tshiluba — the official languages of Democratic Republic of the Congo — at an event marking a new donation of desks and chairs.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated 400 desks, 16 office tables and 16 office chairs to the Camp Major Vangu Elementary School in Lubumbashi on Dec. 15, 2022.
More than 1,000 people attended the handover ceremony at the school for military children, reported the Church’s Africa Newsroom.
Elder Pungwe S. Kongolo, Area Seventy in the Africa Central Area, represented the Church at the event. He remarked that “faith without works is dead. This is the right way for the Church and our Heavenly Father to show love to this community by supporting and helping our military’s children to have access to education in good conditions.”
Prudence Ilunga of the Ministry of Education expressed her thanks to the Church for the large assistance. “This support will help future generations gain their education under good conditions. And we thank this church for its willingness to support the educational vision of our country’s president,” she said.
The army was represented by Daniel Mwanja, deputy regional commander for operations and intelligence. He said, “We can witness that this is the true church by their work and support to the local community, as we know this is not the first support we have received from this church.”
Other Church efforts in Democratic Republic of the Congo
In May 2022, the Church helped provide an almost completely new school in Kinshasa. The Badiadingi Institute received immense refurbishments and donations such as desks, classrooms, sewing machines, offices and toilets.
Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Binza Stake President Didier M. Mutombo, who is also a Church Welfare and Self-Reliance Services manager for the area, said the Church was motivated to support the country’s education ministry to improve the school.
“These young people you see today, we were in their place a few years ago,” he said.
The Church has supported UNICEF in their Learning for Life program across Africa, including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where refugees from South Sudan are entering the school system and needing more support and services.
In August and September of 2022, about 12,000 people in the region of Kivu received food and other supplies from the Women of Faith humanitarian organization with support from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
People have not been able to feed themselves or their families because of conflict in the region. The donations of rice, beans, flour, oil, salt, sugar, soap and clothing went to the most vulnerable, including people with disabilities, the elderly, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, widows and orphans.
Elder Christofferson’s visit to Democratic Republic of the Congo
While visiting the Democratic Republic of the Congo Nov. 11-13, 2022, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke with other faith leaders, met with missionaries and ministered to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“We see a vibrant Church, a rapidly growing Church; we see a stable Church and great opportunities for the future,” Elder Christofferson said. “Members are making individual contributions, but as a Church, we’re beginning to be a real force for good in this area.”
Members of several stakes in the country performed service in their neighborhoods during the month of December 2022 for the Light the World initiative, including cleaning and repairing buildings, and delivering food and supplies to hospitals, health clinics and centers for people in need.
Nearly 90,000 Latter-day Saints in 250 congregations reside in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A temple in Kinshasa was dedicated on April 14, 2019, and ground was broken for a new temple in Lubumbashi on Aug, 20, 2022.