Ground broken for Democratic Republic of the Congo’s second temple
Aug. 20 groundbreaking of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple drew dozens of government, community and interfaith leaders
The Lubumbashi Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple — the second temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in that central Africa country — is officially under construction following its groundbreaking ceremony Saturday, Aug. 20, in Lubumbashi.
Elder Matthew L. Carpenter, a General Authority Seventy who is president of the Africa Central Area, presided at the event and offered the dedicatory prayer on the temple site and the temple’s construction.
“Whenever a temple of God is constructed, it stands as another symbol of truth, righteousness, and peace as we seek to apply the teachings of Jesus Christ,” Elder Carpenter said in his remarks.
Information on the groundbreaking was published Monday, Aug. 22, on ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
In his prayer, Elder Carpenter acknowledged that the Latter-day Saints in and around Lubumbashi had waited “with great anticipation for a temple to grace this land.”
He added in prayer: “Many of Thy children here, along with their posterity and their ancestors, are anxious to receive the blessings of sacred ordinances and covenants available in the temple.”
Also attending were the counselors in the area— Elder Theirry K. Mutombo and Elder Ian S. Ardern, both General Authority Seventies — as well as dozens of government, community and interfaith leaders, many of whom participated in the soil-turning formalities.
The Honorable Jean Louis Kalamba Ndingu, from the office of the country’s prime minister and speaking on behalf of the government, said: “I know that the temple is truly the House of the Lord and that in all the history of humanity there is no other way for people to get closer to God other than by following what is taught in the temple. It will be a huge blessing, not only to the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but also to all the people of the Congo.”
Another visiting government leader, Excellence Immaculee Bagabe Betete, from the Ministry of Culture, Art and Intercommunity Relations, added: “The temple that will be built here is very symbolic, it is a symbol of unity, symbolic of the presence of the Holy Spirit and by consequence the presence of God. My invitation is to the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who are Christians, is to work tirelessly to complete the temple and to make it a reality in their lives.”
Being built on a 2.57-acre site, the Lubumbashi temple will be 19,300 square feet in size and include two endowment rooms of 30 seats each. Ancillary buildings of 31,000 square feet will be built on the site, which will include a distribution center and patron and missionary housing.
President Russell M. Nelson announced a temple for Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, in April 2020 general conference, one of eight new locations identified then. It was the second temple announced for that central African nation, with the Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Temple dedicated in 2019.
While having an in-country temple was better than previously having to go to the Johannesburg South Africa Temple, Lubumbashi — a mining city of almost 1.8 million located in the southern tip of the Democratic Republic of the Congo — is nearly 1,500 miles (or 2,300 kilometers) from the capital city of Kinshasa, making temple travel still difficult.
Nearly 90,000 Latter-day Saints in 250 congregations reside in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Africa Central Area presidency has emphasized the importance for Congolese Latter-day Saints to hold current temple recommends, in part to prepare for the completion and dedication of the country’s second temple.
Elder Carpenter said he was “particularly pleased” to see young men and young women and children attending the groundbreaking, telling them “this temple will be a beacon of hope and spiritual guidance as you prepare to receive your own temple blessings here.”
Elder Mutombo, a native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said: “Lubumbashi is a great place for us to be today, Sister Mutombo and I are so grateful to be here, this is our homeland, we are so grateful to witness God’s love for the people. This temple will bless lives on both sides of the veil; this place will be a place of joy, a place of peace, and a place of learning.”
And Elder Ardern said the event left him “lost for words, because it was such a magnificent experience to have all these people come in anticipation of a temple rising up from the ground towards God, and for them to one day have the privilege to enter in and perform the ordinances necessary for them and their ancestors to return to live with God once more.”
Lily Ilunga, a Latter-day Saint mother of five and wife of a local Church leader, commented on the memorable day of groundbreaking. “I said to my husband that it was as if I was in a dream, a dream that I never wanted to end. What I feel today I cannot find words to express.
“When the temple was announced for Lubumbashi, I said to myself, ‘Wow, God has heard the humble prayer of His children, He has heard my prayer.’”
For more information and photos, go to ChurchofJesusChrist.org.