After two years of waiting for COVID-19 restrictions to ease —and much financial sacrifice, planning and faith — 41 Church members from Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo, crossed the Congo River by boat to enter the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple.
Brazzaville and Kinshasa are the two closest capitals in the world, but they are divided by the Congo River, one of the world’s largest rivers, explained the Church’s Africa Newsroom. Travelers must cross by boat because there are no bridges linking the two cities.
The group included parents who were able to be sealed to their children and young adults who received their own temple blessings.
“This was an unforgettable spiritual experience for the members from Brazzaville,” said President Francois M. Mukubu.
He remarked on the preparation the members had made to attend and the reverence the adults and children had for the temple. “All the temple workers were very happy to share this beautiful experience with these brothers and sisters.”
The members spoke about planning and dreaming of the temple and a feeling that something was missing. But they said that when they were in the temple, they felt lightness and peace and were grateful that God made it possible.
Besides waiting for the restrictions to lift, the group also had to pay for their lodging and the short but expensive river crossing.
The Kinshasa temple — the first in the Democratic Republic of the Congo — was dedicated in 2019. A temple in Lubumbashi is under construction with the groundbreaking last August, and a temple was announced for Kananga in October 2021 general conference.
In April 2022, President Russell M. Nelson announced plans to build a temple in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo. Once that temple is finished, the members in that country will not have to cross the Congo River to get to the temple.