‘A tremendous opportunity and blessing’ — leaders and missionaries in Africa receive training from an Apostle

Two historic meetings in Kenya over the weekend allowed local leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to ask questions and receive counsel from Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Elder Rasband also visited the construction site of the Nairobi Kenya Temple, and pronounced a blessing upon the people of Kenya before leaving the African continent at the conclusion of his 10-day visit.

Elder Rasband visits southern Africa, meets with Mozambique president

Elder Rasband and Elder S. Mark Palmer of the Presidency of the Seventy were joined by their wives, Sister Melanie Rasband and Sister Jacqui Palmer, and the Africa Central Area presidency — Elder Joseph W. Sitati, area president, and his counselors, Elder Matthew L. Carpenter and Elder Thierry K. Mutombo.

Stake, district and temple presidents attended a training meeting in person in Nairobi on Saturday, May 21. The next day a videoconference took place with leaders from the area’s French-speaking countries, reported the Church’s Africa Newsroom.

Elder Frederick M. Kamya, an Area Seventy from Uganda, said it was the first time he had training from an Apostle. “I received such great teachings and testimony from [Elder Rasband]. During the question-and-answer session, he simplified issues in ways unimaginable to us before. Oh, what a tremendous opportunity and blessing we have had. I am so grateful for having attended this training. It was one of a kind.”

President Robert Dudfield of the Ethiopia Addis Ababa Mission said, “As I prepare to return to Ethiopia, I am deeply grateful for the feelings I felt, the instructions I received and impressions on how I can help His children in Ethiopia.”

Nairobi Kenya Temple

While in Kenya, Elder Rasband visited the construction site of the Nairobi Kenya Temple and addressed members of the news media at the site. 

“I speak as an Apostle of Jesus Christ. I know that God loves the people of Kenya. We as a Church are grateful to have freedom of religion here. May God bless this wonderful country of Kenya and all its wonderful citizens,” Elder Rasband said.

Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles tours the Nairobi Kenya Temple site in Nairobi, Kenya, on May 21, 2022.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles tours the Nairobi Kenya Temple site in Nairobi, Kenya, on May 21, 2022. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The groundbreaking for the temple was held on Sept. 11, 2021. It is expected to be completed by 2025, reported Africa Newsroom. Once completed, the temple will serve Kenya and the countries of Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Djibouti. It will become the sixth operating temple in Africa, while an additional 12 have been announced or are under construction.

Hope’ and ‘rising generation’ underscore groundbreaking for first temple in Kenya and East Africa

Robinson Aliero Imende, a Latter-day Saint from Kenya who was at the temple site during the visit, said it’s uncommon to experience a visit from an Apostle.

“To see Elder Rasband in Kenya, and at the temple site, giving apostolic direction to all the members, gave me a burning in the bosom. He even gave an apostolic blessing to Kenya live on the country’s public TV station.”

Meeting with missionaries

On Sunday, May 22, Elder Rasband and Elder Palmer and their wives participated in a special sacrament meeting with almost 100 missionaries from the Kenya Nairobi Mission. Elder Palmer, mission presidents and members of the area presidency, blessed and passed the sacrament, reported Africa Newsroom.

Sister missionaries from the Kenya Nairobi Mission smile after the special sacrament meeting with Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during his visit to Nairobi, Kenya, on May 22, 2022.
Sister missionaries from the Kenya Nairobi Mission smile after the special sacrament meeting with Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles during his visit to Nairobi, Kenya, on May 22, 2022. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

As he concluded his trip to Africa — which also included a visit to Mozambique’s president and training meetings in South Africa — Elder Rasband said he and Sister Rasband were so grateful for the privilege of visiting the continent.

“We have met wonderful members of the Church, missionaries, friends of the Church, leaders of countries, and visited the Nairobi Kenya Temple site. We will take home many memories and share them with our brothers and sisters in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“My thanks and appreciation to everyone who made this trip so memorable. And please know that my testimony for the Lord has increased because of being with you here. We love you all, and we love the Lord Jesus Christ.”