Elder Bednar:Church in Africa Is Vibrant and Growing

Elder Bednar:Church in Africa Is Vibrant and Growing

“The Church is vibrant and growing in Africa,” said Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostle during his recent visit to the Africa Southeast Area.

There is an eagerness and light in the eyes of the African Latter-day Saints, he said.  “This is a place where many people live challenging, difficult lives.  They don’t have many of the temporal comforts and blessings that people in the Western world have.  Many of these Saint s are grateful to have one substantial meal a day.  Yet because of the gospel of Jesus Christ, they have great light and hope.   I learn a great deal from the people every time I visit the African continent.”

Elder Bednar and his wife, Sister Susan R. Bednar, traveled to Africa October 23 through November 6.  They met with members and missionaries as he conducted a review of the Church’s Africa Southeast Area and visited Gabon, a sovereign state on the west coast of Central Africa.

Elder Bednar was accompanied on the assignment by Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Presidency of seventy and his wife, Sister Debbie Christensen; Bishop Gérald Caussé, First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, and his wife, Sister Valérie Caussé; and members of the Africa Southeast Area Presidency and their wives.

Leaders, members and missionaries in Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa; Lubumbashi, and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo; and Libreville, Gabon, received uplifting instruction from the Brethren and their wives.

“Africa is an enchanting and inspiring place,” said Elder Bednar.  “Africa is diverse and complex.  There are highly industrialized and sophisticated communities and rural and simple villages.  The gospel of Jesus Christ gathers all kinds of people into the gospel net. Even though there is a common strong faith among the Latter-day Saints, there is also a remarkable diversity.”

Elder Christensen, on his first visit to Africa, stated the area was “quite different, quite diverse, quite broad from any other place we have been in the world.  As we mingled with the Saints, we observed strong faith and spiritual depth.”

Elder Christensen said members have a desire to bless and watch out for one another, which “is a natural extension of the Savior’s gospel.”

Africa is one of the most rapidly growing areas of the Church.  Referring to that growth, Elder Bednar mentioned that a stake president in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has an unusual weekly challenge in sacrament meeting – finding enough time for confirmations.  During a recent meeting, 18 new members were confirmed.