How ‘miracle of the rain’ continues after Praia Cape Verde Temple dedication and is blessing 2 kinds of harvests
Elder Andersen prayed for the drought-stricken islands in his June 19 dedicatory prayer — and the rains have continued
With “the miracle of the rain” continuing in Cabo Verde following Elder Neil L. Andersen’s June 19 dedicatory prayer for the Praia Cape Verde Temple, Church leaders on the islands are reporting successful growth and anticipated harvests of two different kinds.
The prayer and ‘miracle of the rain’
When Elder Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles dedicated the Praia temple, his prayer included a plea for rain on the drought-stricken, 10-island nation off the coast of west Africa. The drought dates back to 2017 and has magnified food insecurities in Cabo Verde.
“We thank Thee, Father, for the many blessings that have come to Cabo Verde since Elder Dallin H. Oaks first blessed this land nearly 30 years ago. We bless this land, as President Oaks did previously, that the land may bring forth abundantly for its people, that the clouds may produce rain, that the ocean may yield its fruit, and we bless the people of this land that they may have vision, energy and freedom, light and knowledge, ambition and hope, all strengthened by obedience to Thy commandments.”
As Elder Andersen and his wife, Sister Kathy Andersen, returned to Utah after the dedication and attended the 2022 Seminar for New Mission Leaders later that week, Sister Andersen spoke of “the miracle of the rain” in Praia. Rain had started to fall as the third and final dedicatory session concluded and had continued through that week.
Elder Andersen has reported he has received several recent emails from local Church leaders on the ongoing precipitation, including one that reported rains have continued to fall — calmly and serenely — since the dedication.
“Even the national TV is reporting welcoming rain,” said the leader. “People are so full of hope for the upcoming harvest.”
In a Sept. 22 email to the Church News, Elder Roseveltt Teixeira, an Area Seventy in the Europe North Area and a Praia resident, wrote that the day after the June 19 dedication, he and his wife were touring the island of Santiago with visitors, both noticing the widespread rain and hearing reports of rain on other islands.
“Many farmers were surprised because they did not expect rain in the month of June, as it had not rained in June for at least five years,” he said.
“My wife had said a few months ago that this year we were going to have a blessing of rain because of the temple. Up to today’s date, we are still receiving rain, and there is rain forecast all over the country.”
Said President David J. Wunderli and Sister Diane Wunderli of the Cape Verde Praia Mission in an email to Elder Andersen: “We continue to marvel at the immediate blessing of your wonderful dedicatory prayer. It has continued to rain consistently. Farmers on each of the 10 islands have been working nonstop planting and cultivating their fields in anticipation of very productive crop yields.
“In our time here, we have yet to see the likes of this. The islands are green, and there is a noticeable spirit of optimism felt in every town.”
A different kind of ‘harvest’
The mission president also referred to a different kind of harvest that has been apparent after the temple dedication.
“The field for missionary work and reactivation is also yielding much fruit,” President Wunderli wrote. “We see miracles each week of the gathering and returning taking place.
“Those entering the waters of baptism are doing so with a better understanding of the doctrine of Christ and their new covenant path,” he continued. “Members are better understanding and consistently teaching about covenants.”
Inter-island ‘temple caravans’
President Wunderli reported on the inter-island “temple caravans” being arranged for members from Cabo Verde’s other islands to arrive to the island of Santiago and the Praia temple.
The first caravan arrived in August from a member district on the island of Sal, with 28 Latter-day Saints — a mixture of single adults, married couples, parents and children. They had waited for four hours at their home port before sailing 12 hours on rough seas from Sal to Praia, arriving at 3 a.m.
“As I drove into the port to pick them up in the middle of the night, I was amazed to see them laughing, smiling, joking and singing ‘Families Can Be Together Forever,’” President Wunderli reported.
“We drove past the lighted temple on the way to their hotel, and as we rounded the corner, they then began singing ‘Beautiful Zion.’ I was overcome with emotion. Their appreciation for and understanding of the blessing of this temple is deep and tender.”
A wait that could have been worse
Among the Latter-day Saints in that Sal District caravan were Odairo Fernandes Silva and his wife, Vania Monteiro Rodrigues Lopes Silva, who waited for the Praia temple to be dedicated and operating in order to be sealed. It wasn’t much of a wait — at least compared to a prolonged wait the Silvas could have faced just to get married.
Shortly after joining the Church three years ago, Odairo was invited to a young single adult activity in a neighboring city on the island of Sal. He arrived — and the only other person there was Vania, who had organized the activity. Their talking together that evening led to dating and an engagement three months later.
The day after the Silvas were married, Cape Verde closed the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic and halted all official activities.
“The Silvas often say, ‘Had we waited just one more day, we would not have been allowed to marry,’” President Wunderli told the Church News. “They have waited through COVID and finally for the dedication of the temple to be sealed. They are a wonderful, faithful couple.”
Missionaries finally receive endowments
A treasured photo the Wunderlis have of shortly after the temple’s dedication shows 19 of their missionaries outside the temple, having gone through for their own endowments on the temple’s first day of operation. Joining the missionaries in the photo are their escorts, a handful of temple workers and current and past leaders of the Praia and Portugal Porto missions.
“Because of COVID-19, these missionaries had not been able to receive their endowments but had been serving faithfully and waiting patiently to be able to make these sacred covenants,” President Wunderli said.
One elder was on the last day of his mission — following his temple session that morning, he went into the adjacent meetinghouse and was released as a missionary by his stake president.
Praia Cape Verde Temple President Roberto F. Oliveira arranged for the missionaries to be in one of the temple’s first sessions, just after one for the temple workers. “It was a wonderful, incredible day,” President Wunderli said, “a day I will always cherish.”
A map of the 10-island nation of Cabo Verde. The Praia Cape Verde Temple was dedicated on June 19. 2022.
Aaron Thorup, for the Church News
A map of the closest temples to the the 10-island nation of Cabo Verde that’s off of Africa’s west coast. The Praia Cape Verde Temple was dedicated on June 19, 2022.
Aaron Thorup, for the Church News