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Get to know Jesus Christ better, Elder Rasband invites in South Africa

While in South Africa, Elder Rasband teaches youth and adults to cast aside fears, remember the Savior and strive to be peacemakers

While on a ministry visit in South Africa, Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles invited youth and adults of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to cast aside fears, remember the Savior and strive to be peacemakers.

He also promised them that they will come to love Jesus Christ more deeply as they study about Him in the scriptures.

Elder Rasband was joined by his wife, Sister Melanie Rasband, Elder Carlos A. Godoy of the Presidency of the Seventy and his wife Sister Monica Godoy for the April 21-23 trip.

Youth devotional in South Africa

A youth devotional for young people ages 11 to 18 was held at Sandton Chapel in Johannesburg and broadcast through Facebook to 13 countries in the Africa South Area.

The Rasbands, Godoys and members of the Africa South Area presidency and their wives answered questions from the youth on different topics.

Several young people expressed feelings of loneliness, isolation and discouragement, reported the Church’s Africa Newsroom.

Sister Rasband told them, “I feel very strongly about the blessing of the Holy Ghost in our lives. That when we feel abandoned or when we feel alone, or we feel like we can’t do something anymore … I know that the Holy Ghost can comfort us and help us to ease those pains and those burdens. There is always help. There is always hope.”

Sister Melanie Rasband speaks to youth during a devotional in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 22, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Elder Rasband invited them to deepen their knowledge of the Savior through scripture study.

“Wherever you are in your life, this little formula will help you,” he said. “If you want to know your Savior better, and you want to love Him more … study Him in the scriptures. The more you know Him, I promise you, the more you will love Him.”

He shared a message from the Prophet that he also gave to Latter-day Saints during his three-country ministry in Europe the week before: “We love you, we thank you, and we need you.”

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A young woman asks a question during a youth devotional with Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 22, 2023. | Screenshot from Facebook live

Youth respond to Elder Rasband

Africa Newsroom spoke to youth after the devotional about what they learned. Tshiamo Mkhumbuza, from Springs, South Africa, said, “I feel I’m never alone, and the Savior is always with me.”

Amukelani Nkuna from Ruimsig, South Africa, resonated with the message of being supported and loved by Jesus Christ.

“The question that I had — that I’ve had for a while actually, is: does the Lord love me, and does He care for me?” Amukelani said. “And that’s what I heard every time [in the answers] — that the Lord does love you, and He does care for you; that He will be there for you all the time.”

Bridgette Aramugam from Sandton, South Africa, expounded more on the question she asked during the devotional.

“I asked how people who struggle with mental illness like depression, anxiety can … wake up in the mornings to attend Church, or even make it at all. [Elder Rasband] shared a scripture with me from The Book of Mormon. It [said that] we can turn to the Lord and that He will help us. I felt the Spirit and I felt like I wasn’t alone.” 

Bridgette said she is now going to “depend on the Young Women more, and people in the Church to help me build my testimony further. I know that they’re there for me.”

Stake conference in Soweto

At a special stake conference of the Soweto South Africa Stake on Sunday, April 23, Elder Rasband referred to former South African president Nelson Mandela, whose home was in Soweto. Elder Rasband honored both Mandela and President Russell M. Nelson for being peacemakers.

Kamogelo Sebolai from the Pimville Ward in Soweto, South Africa commented afterwards, “What touched me most is when he spoke about being a peacemaker. I think that is something a lot of us struggle with.”

Elder Edward Dube, General Authority Seventy and president of the Africa South Area, and Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles address Church employees in Johannesburg, South Africa, on April 21, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Ephraim Mchiza from Soweto had wondered before the stake conference why it was being held. But he said during the meeting, he received an answer that the “Lord was trying to bring peace to all the members of the Church. We should not lose focus of it, because we are promised peace.”

Elder Rasband also held instruction meetings and leadership trainings while in the area.

Visit with South Africa’s deputy president

A meeting between Elder Rasband and the deputy president of South Africa, Paul Mashatile, marked the first time that a Church leader had met with a government official of such seniority in the country. Mashatile stands second in command to South Africa’s president.

Elder Ronald A. Rasband, left, Elder Edward Dube, center, and South Africa Deputy President Paul Mashatile, right, share a few words after their meeting together in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 22, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

During the April 22 meeting, the leaders discussed some of the ways in which the Church has helped relieve suffering and increase self-reliance for the people of South Africa.

Africa Newsroom said this assistance has included disaster relief, support for youth employment initiatives, subsistence farming programs and gender-based violence interventions. Elder Rasband pledged further support for government efforts in increasing self-employment for youth and women.

Elder Rasband said he hoped that these efforts showed that the Church “here for the long term.”

“We do this to follow the Lord’s two great commandments — to love God, and love our fellow men. And you, in this case, are our fellow men. We want to be wonderfully connected with you,” he said.

Elder Rasband shared a personalized copy of the Book of Mormon with the deputy president.

“The most precious thing that I could give you is this book, which I love. It brings me to Jesus Christ,” Elder Rasband said. “This book will help you love your Lord even better.”

Elder Ronald A. Rasband presents a Book of Mormon to the deputy president of South Africa, Paul Mashatile
Elder Ronald A. Rasband presents a Book of Mormon to the deputy president of South Africa, Paul Mashatile, in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 22, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, right, shares a moment with Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis, General Authority Seventy and member of the Africa South Area presidency, in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 21, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, left, greets a member of the Church in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 21, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Leaders from the Africa South Area listen during a special training session in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 22, 2023. | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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